Labour market policy reaction to the crisis in Europe and the US

Southern European countries that are currently facing particularly acute labour market issues have done little in terms of additional training. Italy and Spain have seen the most important increases in spending on unemployment benefits. Only Greece has stepped up spending on employment and start up incentives.

Liberal Market Economies have raised spending on unemployment benefits (particularly strongly for Ireland) but only Ireland has slightly enhanced training. It’s also striking to note the reduction in US spending on unemployment benefits between 2009 and 2010.

None of these countries spend anything on job rotation nor on early retirement (except for Ireland – that has actually decreased spending). Similarly, only Ireland has increased spending on direct job creation and employment incentives and now spends important amounts on these programs.

Turning our attention to other continental European countries reveals that there was not much action in Germany, while France expanded expanded spending on job creation and start up incentives. Austria and the Netherlands have not altered spending on other active labour market policies in any important ways whereas Belgium has raised spending on employment incentives.

What is striking is how little most countries have done in terms of expanding programs targeted at the unemployed, given the depth of the economic crisis. More information on these programs can be found here.

Bernanke on Economic Outlook and Policy

Chairman Casey, Vice Chairman Brady, and other members of the Committee, I appreciate this opportunity to discuss the economic outlook and economic policy.
Economic growth has continued at a moderate rate so far this year. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose at an annual rate of about 2 percent in the first quarter after increasing at a 3 percent pace in the fourth quarter of 2011. Growth last quarter was supported by further gains in private domestic demand, which more than offset a drag from a decline in government spending. 

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Upcoming Summer conferences

SASE 24th Annual Conference – Global Shifts: Implications for Business, Government and Labour. June 28-30, 2012 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Program available
ILERA 16th World Congress – Beyond Borders: Governance in a Global Economy. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA in 2012. Draft papers
10th Annual ESPAnet conference .September 6-8 2012, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. List of streams