The U.S. isn’t the only country with crushing unemployment.  Unemployment is also high in England. So why are so many people out of work in the U.K.? Perhaps it’s for the very same reason that so many U.S. citizens can’t find jobs. 

The Spectator ponders that question with regard to unemployment among the young:

 The answer is employment regulations. Take, for example, the minimum wage. At £4.92 for 18 to 20-year-olds and £5.93 for those 21 and over, it is not much. Nevertheless, many employers figure that many young people are simply not worth even that amount to them. Many will have no work experience at all, and many more will have no marketable skills. They have to be trained up and integrated into the world and habits of work. It is an indictment of our education system, but employers often find that young people lack even the most basic life skills they need to hold down a job.

Other regulations that make it hard to lay workers off once you have hired them just add to employers’ reluctance to take on inexperienced staff. They want people whom they know will be worth the wages they are paid.

We should scrap the minimum wage, and much other employment legislation, for young people. After all, it’s doing a million of them absolutely no good anyway, because they are not in work earning any wage. It just prices them out of jobs. They would be better off accepting lower pay, but getting the work experience that would qualify them for better jobs. But that’s not allowed.

Here is the nugget I want you to reflect on: If you aren’t working, the minimum wage doesn’t matter at all. Got that? Our policy makers in Washington don’t seem to understand this. It’s great to have lots of rules, safeguards, and regulations. But all are irrelevant if they stifle employment.

The Spectator piece is about young people, but might the same observations apply to older folks who can’t find work?