Friday, January 28, 2011

In the news: Re-employment... but the economy is tough.

A couple of national news articles caught our eye this week. The title of the first piece gives a great intro to the story: "States Help Ex-Inmates Find Jobs".

The argument in favor of such re-employment efforts is simple: a person with a stable job and stable income is less likely to commit a crime and go to jail. The frequency at which people repeat crimes and thus re-enter the justice system is called the recidivism rate, thus the goal of re-employment is to reduce the recidivism rate. If successful, reduced recidivism means reduced costs to the justice system.

A special study in Michigan looked at the costs and benefits of the state's re-employment program. The state spends about $56 million a year on its program. During the last four years, this has resulted in a 15 percent reduction in the state's inmate population and provided savings to the justice system of about $200 million a year.

Our second news story for today actually has a global perspective: "Weak labour market holding back recovery - ILO".

According to the International Labour Organisation* employment in the world is increasing at a "faltering and uneven" pace, which means that economic recovery will probably remain sluggish and unemployment will remain high.

The article particularly focuses on discouraged workers -- aka people who have stopped looking for work because employment prospects seem too grim. These folks aren't counted in our normal measure of unemployment, but they are many in number. The ILO believes a lot of young people have joined the ranks of the discouraged workers, as young people have faced higher unemployment rates than older, more-experienced workers.

As a younger worker, I'm reminded to be especially grateful for my job.

* I can't help but mention that Graham, our boss (who is British), probably loves the way the ILO spells its name. I wanted to Americanize the spelling, but I left it alone for his enjoyment.

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