Don’t panic

Rafael Puyol. Vicepresident. IE Foundation

5 October 2009

As the song goes, summer’s gone… bringing gloom to the labor market in the form of rising unemployment, rounded off by swine flu.

Returning to routine is always disheartening, but this year the post-vacation syndrome rears its head with new concerns: above all, the unemployment situation. After the summer respite brought on by the seasonal boost and the cosmetic plans for encouraging employment, unemployment is now set to grow again to a level which could be around 20% by the end of 2009.

Labour despondency is spreading like a trail of lit gunpowder and affects those who are already unemployed (more than 1 million people have been in such a critical situation for at least one year) and those who are worried about losing their job and that means not only temporary workers, who have been most affected so far, but also those with open-ended contracts.

The general air of dejection is also affecting potential resources, who are on the back foot owing to the fact that many individuals are no longer trying to find work on a market that is clearly weakening. These potential resources comprise a variety of groups made up mainly of young people, men with low or medium-level qualifications and immigrants.

In this context of grief, in which, as tradition has it, the only important thing that matters is your health, the new swine flu has reared its threatening snout. It´s no joke. Even though it is not particularly lethal, it spreads very easily, as has started to happen in the last few days. Fortunately, in this case the remedy is simpler, as long as we believe in the need to adopt preventive measures and that the vaccines will arrive in time for those who need them most.

But, let´s not panic. The magic triad for a happy life (health, money and love) will be affected by the insufficiency or surplus of the first two ingredients. We won´t have money because the crisis has our wallets in its grip and our health will be affected by plain old flu, but there will always be love.

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