Data and training schemes distort the real figures

Over the last five years every government has used the OAED figures of registered jobless to prove that unemployment is on a downward trend. The figures are useful but they do not give the full picture. They are just an indicator of the number of people seeking access to benefits or schemes. A closer look at the November 2004 figures shows that although the number of registered unemployed had indeed dropped from 528,912 to 442,273 in 2006, the number of jobless who declared they did not want to be placed in an occupation rose by 68,464. Today this figure has risen to 108,488 and these are the main beneficiaries of the OAED training schemes. The schemes most popular with MPs and politicians are those that supposedly offer work experience in state services and insurance funds. According to an OAED report, 17 training schemes supplied temporary personnel to the ministries of Employment, Economy and Development and the municipalities. Unemployed degree holders that were engaged in these posts were taken off the unemployment registry for 18 months without social insurance or unemployment benefit even in the event of illness. Nomination for these so-called posts was conducted by OAED’s central services. Seven-hundred unemployed young people thus met the needs of civil service organizations and gained work experience in various daily tasks and in fulfilling the wishes of others. A few days ago the Attica Regional Authority requested another scheme for 400 individuals. For a gross benefit of almost -30 a day, interns sort files and find temporary relief from unemployment. Overall the Ministry of Employment and Social Security has launched work experience schemes for 35,500 unemployed people. Because no employment prospects are created the heart of the problem is never addressed, that is the long-term unemployed, who account for over 50 percent of the total jobless. Despite a drop in total unemployment, figures produced by the National Statistical Service for the third quarter of 2006 show that those seeking work for over 12 months make up 58.49 percent of the unemployed.

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