Mark Barnes Columnist

Our unemployment figures are horrible, we know that, and we all know they’re getting worse. The latest figures show the official unemployment rate is 27.2%. If you include people who have stopped looking for work, that figure jumps to 37.2%. Add to that the number of people supported by social grants, and the dependants they provide for, and a bleak and unsustainable picture of the extent of cross-subsidy emerges. There are only 16.3 million people, out of a population of 57.4 million, who are defined as employed. A total of 28.5% of the population simply cannot support themselves as well as the other 71.5% of the population. That much must surely be obvious to everyone, let alone the huge discrepancy of incomes within the employed. We need to start thinking differently about being employed. It can’t simply be about whether you can apply for and get a job at a formal employer. Economic cycles dictate what cost capacity corporate employers can bear. Inevitably there is over-employmen...

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