Soaring unemployment in Finland hits immigrants and visible minorities especially hard

by , under Enrique

It was shocking to read how Finland’s jobless rate shot up in May to 10.8% from 9.5% a year ago. Since immigrant unemployment is about three times higher than the national average, it means in theory that the unemployed rate for immigrants is at least 30%. 

Matters are expected to get worse before they improve.

The Bank of Finland sees Finland’s economy shrinking this year by 0.8% and growing in 2014 by 0.7%, which will cause unemployment to rise to 8.6% next year. The Bank of Finland doesn’t see unemployment retreating significantly in 2015.

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Immigrants, who are usually the last to be hired and the first to get laid-off in a recession, are in an especially vulnerable position. The situation is exacerbated by the lack of political support and prejudice.

Since no media or politician will stand up for the immigrants and young immigrants, Migrant Tales will do so proudly.

If you want to get a depressing view of the situation, take a look at unemployment among young people (15-24 years), which rose by 4.5 percentage points to 35.2% during the month under review. What does it say about the jobless rate of second-generation Finns?

It was twenty years ago when Finland suffered its worst-ever recession in a century in the early 1990s, which caused unemployment to soar to about 20%. People who had expensive mortgages to pay were especially hard-hit.

Those who lived and survived that period, remember the cutthroat atmosphere that existed at the time. Immigrants and non-white Finns were especially vulnerable. If you had a score to settle with an employee or a coworker at work, the recession helped you to stab a knife in his or her back.

That recession of the early 1990s showed how vital it is for immigrants, and workers in general, of having a political voice in the country.

If we don’t have a voice, we are easy pickings and subject to gross abuse.

That’s why fighting racism is so essential.