The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Unemployment up, benefits down

Sep 23, 2002

Long-term unemployment has nearly doubled since last year. A year ago, 800,000 people had been out of work for six months or longer. This year, one and a half million people have been out of work for six months or longer. The figure is expected to reach almost two million long-term unemployed before the end of this year.

The long-term unemployment rate is showing a significant increase, the most in eight years.

In fact, the figures for unemployment seriously under-count how many people are without work. For example, the long-term unemployed, like the short-term unemployed, are only counted in the statistics when the unemployment offices show that they are looking for work. When people get discouraged and don't look for a job the way officials demand, they are no longer counted as unemployed. Or someone who works a few hours per week, although they want more hours, is no longer considered unemployed. So these figures for the unemployed have to be much higher than the official counts.

What these figures show is an economic catastrophe in the making for the entire working class.

The economic experts continue to tell us that the stock market is just going through a little "correction." They suggest we will soon be okay again.

Not so! This little "correction" has already lasted for three years and shows no sign of ending. It means that capital has been eaten up, capital which could have been invested in new production or even in maintaining old production.

If the problems of the stock market only affected the wealthy, why would anyone care? But unfortunately, it affects all of us, all of our jobs and all of our possibilities to have a decent life.

Those who run this economy are playing Russian roulette with our lives. They need to be tossed aside.