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World - Weak economic recovery exacerbates employment crisis among young people

09 May 2013

It is not easy being young in today's job market, says the International Labour Organization (ILO) report on Global Employment Trends for Youth.  According to the organization, the weak recovery of the world economy in the last two years has exacerbated the crisis of employment among workers aged 15 to 24 years.

It is estimated that currently about 73 million young people are out of work, equivalent to the unemployment rate of 12.6% for people in this age group. The situation is more difficult for young people in developed countries hit harder by the financial crisis between 2008 and 2009, the ILO said. In 2012, the rate peaked at 54.3% in Spain, 54.2% in Greece, 38.7% in Portugal, 34.4% in Italy and 31.4% in Ireland. From 2008 to 2012, the unemployment of between 15 and 24 years was 24.9% on average.

Spain has recently registered the highest rate of unemployment since the 1970s. Portugal and Italy have also expressed concern about unemployment in the continent. It is estimated that the rate for young people will not to fall below 17% by 2016 in developed countries.

Until 2018, the unemployment rate among young people is projected to reach 12.8% on average, with increasing regional disparities, as evidenced by the dynamics in the labour market in developing countries such as Brazil. The organization's data show that the increase rate has occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2012, Brazil registered a 13.7% rate of unemployment among people aged 15 to 24 - the lowest in the series made by the ILO between 2000 and 2012. Mexico and Chile were other countries in the region have comparatively low rates compared to other - 9.7% and 15.8%, respectively.

Among the consequences of unemployment among young people in developed countries are giving up these people entering the labour market, people being less selective about the type of job they accept and the loss of productive potential of the economy in general, which do not stimulate the workforce responsible for sustaining the future. "Society is losing valuable skills and failing to grow productively, what would happen if these young people were employed in its appropriate level of qualification," the ILO.

According to the organisation, many young people are turning to part-time activities, as well as informal working arrangements. Stable jobs, which were almost standard for previous generations - at least in developed economies - have been increasingly less accessible to current generations.

Another problem, according to the ILO, is the incompatibility between the activities performed by the young and the expertise they have. On average, 13.7% of young Europeans between 2000 and 2011, exercised activities not related to the areas in which they specialize. Higher mismatch rates were recorded in the Scandinavian countries, Finland (23.3%) and Sweden (23.1%). The lowest was in Switzerland, 1.6%.

"It is likely that these effects get worse the more you prolong the crisis of youth unemployment and involving economic and social costs - such as increasing poverty and slower growth, which largely exceed the cost of downtime," said José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ILO’s Assistant Director-General for Policy.

To watch a video about this item click here.

To download the full report, go to this page.

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