Job creation for long-term unemployed halfway to government goal

Despite the progress, some in parliament argue job growth isn’t keeping up with number of people losing benefits

The government is nearly halfway to its goal of creating 12,500 jobs for unemployed benefit recipients about to be kicked out of the system, according to figures from Arbejdsmarkedsstyrelsen, the national labour market regulator.

The figures indicating that 5,709 jobs earmarked for individuals affected by the unemployment benefit (dagpenge) reform stem from the first count of the number of available jobs since the changes took effect on January 1. Almost 200 new job openings have been reported since the end of December, when 5,528 such positions were available.

But according a spokesperson for the left-leaning Enhedslisten party, which campaigned heavily against the reform, the number of new jobs was too few.

“It’s going too slow. We are not even close to being able to keep up with the number of people losing their benefits in January alone. This solution is completely inadequate,” Enhedslisten MP Per Clausen told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper. “We must create more jobs and look into making changes to the dagpenge scheme in order to save people.”

Although the PM’s Socialdemokraterne argued that the party agreed with Enhedslisten in principle, it wanted to wait and evaluate the impact of the its job creation plan before making further decisions.

The government’s job creation plan (akutpakke) was introduced in October in an attempt to create jobs for the thousands of people who would be unable to collect unemployment benefits at the end of 2012, when a new two-year limit for receiving benefits kicked in.

Under the terms of the plan, businesses are awarded 25,000 kroner for employing a long-term unemployed person, provided the work at least 32 hours a week for over 12 months. Companies receive 12,500 kroner for employing a person for six months.

According to Jyllands-Posten newspaper, in Aarhus alone there are about 400 people that are on the brink of losing their rights to claim unemployment in January. Yet, there were only 99 positions listed with Aarhus Council branch of the Jobcenter, the national network of publicly run job agencies.

Socialdemokraterne have called on businesses to set aside more jobs for such individuals.