Unemployment is a word which strikes terror into the hearts of many people. Those who lived through the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s remember long lines of dejected men on the Jarrow March, starving children and soup kitchens. Today, whole areas of the country are becoming ‘industrial deserts’ as more and more communities suffer because of a lack of employment opportunities. Over the last ten years 1 000 000 jobs have disappeared. Manufacturing jobs are now being lost at the rate of 60 000 every month. Most of the jobs which have been lost were the result of the economic recession. Firms have been forced to close or to shed ‘excess’ labour. The result is over 3 000 000 unemployed. Some people fear that this shedding of labour, if coupled with a drive towards the extensive use of new technology could lead to unemployment on a scale hardly dreamed of.
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