I have had periods of unemployment in the early 80s, for nearly two years between 1995-7 and 2005-6. I applied for hundreds of jobs and went to many interviews, too many to recall.
It was a very demoralising time and probably says something about my strength of character that I kept going in applying for job after job. I did everything was asked of me.
I went on useless courses run by well meaning but rather unimaginative people funded on the cheap by the DWP. I recall the response about the question of what should I say about my weakness at an interview ” say chocolate”.
I would like to think that things have improved for the job seeker after 13 years of customer focused new Labour and the touchy feelingness of the Con Dems but sadly it does not seem to be the case. A friend of mine- a teacher of 24 years experience tells me that his Job Centre in Wolverhampton show cursory interest but the simple fact- and this is the elephant in the room is that there are no jobs. In the case of the West Midlands the ratio between the workless and the number of job vacancies is approaching 7 to 1 (I imagine that must be close to the ratio in Stoke).
Another friend of mine in Leek also tells me that his experience at the local Job Centre is equally dismal few jobs and clueless officials handing out meaningless advice. I experienced or at least over heard the sort of advice that the local Job Centre give. Last April a woman worker gave the same advice to a dozen claimants about warehouse jobs that existed in Meir. One of my family gives the same story about the lack of jobs or even an inkling of jobs in South London.
Today the latest unemployment figures indicate that there are over 1 million young people out of work and approaching 2.75 million people in total. This represents an appalling waste of talent. The response of the Government seems to be to reintroduce slavery where young people have been forced to take up unpaid work with a number of companies such as Poundland and Tesco using such labour. It must be right that people who work should be paid a wage anything else is despicable.
I imagine the figures coming out for North Staffs tomorrow will show a further decline in the number of employed. There are about 8,000 on the unemployment register in Stoke, about 1,500 in the Moorlands and about 2,000 in Newcastle. As far as Stoke is concerned the Sentinel indicated that 25% of the population are on out of work benefits. We are sliding into the deepest slump since the 1930s and without the politicians of the calibre of Roosevelt or economists such as Keynes.