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Introduce significant tax cuts for businesses that offer a standard wage of $2.50 but place a 20% gratuity charge for the server/employee on each individual sale. That will negate the cost of wages,( the key deterrent in hiring more employees) allowing expenses to be used elsewhere and the employee will significantly benefit as they will earn beneficial skills - obviously it isn't applicable in every field but it will certainly cut the unemployment rates for unskilled and the adolescent young adult bracket - a potential knock on effect would be adolescents could afford to fund degrees and diplomas -
avoid by all means developing incentives for the unemployed to join the public work force as it would lure uneducated unqualified labour and only be a short term solution

I am not really sure if this is how one applies to this but there's my suggestion anyway.