Unemployment: The State as A Safety Net
Historically, technological change has had an impact on the nature and number of jobs in an economy. The present high rates of unemployment can thus be related to current or recent technological changes, but these may not be the only factors involved. This chapter evaluates the present institutional approach of the Canadian federal government to unemployment. Some of the elements underlying long-term unemployment may be demographic shifts, recessions and changes in production systems. The state's initial response to the 'employment crisis' of the 1980s has been job creation specifically aimed at the hardest hit groups of youth and long-term unemployed, and to encourage potential growth industries. An institutional change would be for the state to channel a substantial amount of money into providing people with a general education rather than preparing them with specific skills. The informal sector is also developing, providing a range of goods and services, yielding income in bartered goods and services for those involved.