The number of unemployed is quickly divided in two – Korona pushed the long-term unemployed further and further to the tail | Yle news

The economy is growing noisy and is attracting more people to the job market. But the noise does not belong to everyone.

Although the number of employed is growing rapidly, the number of long-term unemployed is not decreasing – on the contrary.

The number of people unemployed for more than a year has grown dramatically in a year, by more than 40 percent. Throughout the Korona period, ie compared to 2019, long-term unemployment has already doubled.

A person whose unemployment has lasted for more than a year is considered long-term unemployed. After that, it’s even harder to catch the edge of the job. Employment is starting to become more difficult after six months of unemployment, says PTC-services company researcher Jussi Pyykkönen.

Jussi Pyykkönen has analyzed unemployment statistics from the 1980s to the present day. Photo: Jari Kovalainen / General

He classifies the unemployed into two groups: those who are easily employed and those who are persistently unemployed. Pyykkönen also has a sense of employment issues at the government level. He worked until last October Maria Ohisalon (Greens) as Special Assistant to the Ministerial Group on Economic Policy.

Signs towards long-term unemployment

According to Pyykkönen, persistent unemployment is usually led to by three definite steps: there is no post-primary education, no work history, and unemployment has continued for at least six months in two years. Each yes answer leads to persistent unemployment.

Instead, a person who is not described by any of these points is considered to be easily employed

Based on previous statistical surveys, Pyykkönen estimates that there are now more than 216,000 persistently unemployed, compared to 162,000 before the interest rate crisis.

Easily employablePersistently unemployedTotal unemployed
201995 000162 000257 000
202193 000216 000309 000
change-2%+33%+20%

A new group at the top of the unemployed

The sharp increase in the number of people made unemployed or laid off in the corona crisis has made the situation of the long-term unemployed even more difficult.

Those who became unemployed in the corona crisis have become the forefront of the unemployment card, behind the long-term unemployed, the low-skilled and those with no work experience.

The reason is clear, explains the head of the Helsinki employment unit Ilkka Haahtela. When companies dare to hire again, laid-off and former employees are the first to be hired. Those who have been unemployed for a long time are left at the tail of the queue.

– Yes, factors have entered the labor market, but not from a crowd that has been unemployed before the corona. It is now difficult for that crowd to get back to work.

In Helsinki, unemployment has already risen to more than twelve per cent, when, according to Haahtela’s estimate, it could now be six per cent if the epidemic had not struck.

– There has never been such a rapid and widespread rise in unemployment and layoffs since World War II. Even in the banking crisis, the situation did not change so quickly, Haahtela compares.

An IT engineer graduated under a corona without a job

It can also be difficult for young people to go beyond job interviews. You know that Timo Räisänen, who just graduated on the eve of the corona crisis, became an IT engineer at Lapland University of Applied Sciences.

For example, he hopes for IT local support jobs, but the missing driving license restricts applying for a job from outside his hometown Kokkola. Räisänen has not been discouraged by negative responses to job applications. He believes jobs will be found before long, as long as he gets to the finish of the running driving school.

A two- or three-month work trial is now underway at the Kokkola Unemployed Association. The aim is to start teaching the unemployed how to use a computer. Executive Director of the Association Johanna Laakson according to now there are a lot of entrepreneurs among the unemployed.

Räisänen’s positive basic character does not falter, even though the meager income is annoying.

Timo Räisänen is on a work trial at Kokkola Unemployed Association. According to the association’s executive director Johanna Laakso, there are a lot of entrepreneurs among the unemployed right now. Photo: Ville Viitamäki / Yle

– Everyone can think about how it feels to have first attended secondary school, high school and four years of polytechnic, to become an IT engineer and then a work trial, from which you get about a hundred euros a month. If I were working in my field, I would get a hundred euros a day.

But why does a young, healthy, motivated job seeker not get jobs in a sector whose labor shortage is in the headlines from that?

– It’s not, so to speak, luck. Sometimes it happens that someone better can be found in that job. I don’t see any particular reason for this, Räisänen ponders.

– You just have to keep trying and applying, yes, at some point the right job will come your way.

Persistent unemployment bites firmly

Those who became unemployed during the corona crisis have a reasonable chance of returning to work, but often they also have longer unemployment.

According to Pyykkönen, those who find employment relatively easily find themselves in a weaker situation all the time.

– There has already been little transition, ie the group on the fringes of long-term unemployment has moved towards the accumulation of problems.

Pyykkönen hopes that the worsening of long-term unemployment will finally at least stop.

Earnings-related unemployment benefits threaten to prolong periods of unemployment, warns Ilkka Haahtela, Head of the Helsinki Labor and Immigration Unit. A period of unemployment of more than six months makes it considerably more difficult to return to work. Photo: Jorma Vihtonen / General

– For the last month, we have seen figures that the rise in long-term unemployment is coming to a halt, but it may still be a long way to go.

Ending persistent unemployment seems to be a destiny that only a few can reverse. According to Pyykkönen, only one-fifth of the long-term unemployed manage to return to work more permanently within a year.

An earnings-related attractive trap

Both Haahtela and Pyykkönen warn of the temptations of earnings-related unemployment benefits. According to them, it will easily lead to a prolongation of unemployment if no work similar to the former and of the same income level can be found.

The idea of ​​staggering unemployment benefits is supported by both.

– Those at the interface between work and unemployment are enabled on an earnings-related basis to be outside the labor market for a relatively long time, Pyykkönen says.

– Many still have an earnings-related period left, even though the labor market is already doing well. If you rely on social security for too long, it is difficult to get out of there, Haahtela confirms.

According to him, especially in the hotel, restaurant and tourism sectors, as well as in the sote sector, there is not as much interest as there would be jobs available.

– During the corona period, a mandatory stop came and many have left to change or change their profession. Now they have not yet been employed in the new and no longer want to go back to the old, Pyykkönen describes.

Why is long-term unemployment stagnating, even though employment is improving at a rapid pace? The topic will be discussed in Studio A on Wednesday 29 September. at 9.05 p.m.

Researchers Simo Aho from the University of Tampere, Executive Director of the Central Organization of the Unemployed Jukka Haapakoski and Ilkka Haahtela, Head of Immigration and Employment Affairs of the City of Helsinki, will discuss.