Unemployment isn’t a collection of people who’ve lost their jobs. It’s better to think of it as the pool between two fast flowing streams. People losing their jobs, or enetering the Labour market when they leave education, return to work after illness, or maternity and so on are flowing in; and people finding work, or reaching retirement age are in the stream flowing out of the pool.
The evidence suggests that, contrary to traditonal left-wing rhetoric, the rate at which people enter the pool through job losses is rather constant over the business cycle. It is hiring that influences the rate of unemployment, not firing.
Traditionally, socialists are very keen on ‘workers’ rights’. These include mandatory periods of leave, pensions, notice and so on. They are very hostile to flexible temporary, part-time or insecure work. The problem few left-wingers acknowledge is that increasing labour rights increases the risk and cost of hiring to an employer. When a good or service gets more expensive, less is used, the same is true of Labour.
Much is made by the left of the rise of part-time work. There are a lot of people in part-time work who want full-time. There are a lot of Temps who want permanent jobs. At the margin, removing some of the more expensive employment rights, expecially making it easier and cheaper for firms to fire unsuitable workers, reduces the risk and cost of hiring and will reduce unemployment.
This is no magic bullet, but if it forms part of a deregulation of business (“deregulation” isn’t a dirty word, and it didn’t cause the crisis…) then that represents a “growth strategy” which might work, unlike the Labour’s plan to spend until we’re Italy.