Patchwork pressures and the long term unemployed

The prime minister is certainly an interesting person to watch in an interview, but her speeches can be a little underwhelming. I suspect most journalists have started to tune out as well, which could explain why there is so much reporting of Hitler saluting pollies, and the machinations of a politician – who has managed to become a party leader before being elected.

Gold nuggetWhile she was doing the rounds in Sydney this week, the Prime Minister dropped a few useful nuggets in a speech. So thank goodness for speech transcripts.

Apart from the usual talk of the 2 speed economy – or “patchwork pressures” as she likes to describe it, there are a lot of warnings of tough times ahead.

The 2 speed economy is hardly news for anyone living in New South Wales over the last few years. It will be interesting to hear the reaction of the newly elected NSW state government when the reality of upcoming Keynesian inspired federal government spending cuts sinks in.

If we are going to be Keynesians in the downturn, we have to be Keynesians on the way up again. That means hard decisions lie ahead.

Amongst it all, it was good to see that Gillard’s focus will be on increasing the pool of skilled people in the workforce. So far it seems like it will amount to adult literacy programs, and putting “incentives” in place to get the long term unemployed to turn up to job interviews.

For some businesses with moderately skilled workforces, a makeover and skills refresh for the long term unemployed will probably help. But workforce demographics are already looking ugly, and skilled migration and foreign student programs have been slowed to a trickle.

Many businesses will clearly struggle to fill jobs for years to come. Effective employee retention and development programs will be vitally important for many industries over the next few years.


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