From Iceland — Directorate of Labor Takes Special Measures for Long-Term Unemployed

Directorate of Labor Takes Special Measures for Long-Term Unemployed

Published August 5, 2010

The Directorate of Labor has taken up a new program to help those who have been unemployed for a year or longer. Called ÞOR (þekking og reynsla, “knowledge and experience”), it puts those who have been unemployed for at least 12 months on a fast track to job-related training and job placement.
Currently, about 4,500 Icelanders have been unemployed for 12 months or more, but it was only last month that the number of unemployed for more than a year was at 2,500. However, Iceland’s unemployment rate is currently 8.2%, down from 9% last year.
Despite this alarming increase in the long-term unemployed, unemployment is expected to decrease this winter.
According to figures from the Directorate of Labor, over 3,000 Icelanders are without work, and many more are underemployed. Directorate of Labor chairman Gissur Pétursson told Fréttablaðið that his experience has been that unemployment tends to decrease in October. This is due in part to students going back to school and leaving jobs open for others to take.
Gissur added that he expects the September’s figures to show unemployment at 7% for August. “That’s terribly much,” he said, “but we are especially optimistic.” Unemployment has, in fact, been steadily decreasing – at this time last year, it was at 9%.
In related news, 430 people were laid off in groups this year. The Directorate of Labor says that 18 lay-off announcements from companies in Iceland were released this year. 89 of the people fired were working in construction. These 430 people are expected to be leaving their jobs in September and October.

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