NEWS

Youth unemployment a global problem

According to ILO, 2012 joblessness will hit 75 mln in 18-24 age group

Unemployment among people aged 18-24 is expected to remain high through 2016, according to the International Labor Organization, which predicted in its annual report, published on Monday, May 21, that global joblessness will reach 12.7 percent this year, or 75 million people, slightly higher than last year?s 12.6 percent. That figure is not expected to change by any great degree for the next four years.

According to the ILO report, the global economic crisis reversed the downward trend of unemployment recorded in the 2002-07 period, with the peak of the crisis in 2009 dealing the fatal blow to gains made in previous years.

The unemployment rate in the 18-24 age group, the report says, has risen by approximately 1 percent since 2007, and while there are great differences between countries and geographical regions, the overall trend presents cause for concern, especially regarding the impact on future salaries and employment rates.

?Discouraged by high youth unemployment rates, many young people have given up the job search altogether, or decided to postpone it and continue their stay in the education system,? the report says, adding: ?If the unemployment rate is adjusted for the dropout induced by the economic crisis, the global youth unemployment rate for 2011 would rise from 12.6 to 13.6 percent.?

The ILO report also says that ?pressure on young job seekers will mount further when those young people that have been delaying their entry into the labor market will return to activity, and start searching for work.?

However, it also stresses that many of those who are employed are often trapped in part-time or limited-time contracts and enjoy few benefits.

?The growth of temporary employment and part-time work in the past decade, in particular since the global economic crisis, suggests that this work is increasingly taken up because it is the only option available,? the report says.

The ILO rejects calls from the business world for the complete deregulation of the labor market in order to make hiring more attractive. ?Further flexibilization and deregulation of the labor market is unlikely to help in this current situation,? the chief of the ILO Employment Trends Unit, Ekkehard Ernst, told the Financial Times.

Ernst cites the example of Spain, where the deregulation of the labor market meant more jobs for young people in the good years but rapid firings when the economy began to head south.

He also stresses that in countries like Spain, as in Greece, where unemployment among young people stands at over 50 percent, emphasis should be put on measures for stimulating the economy rather than austerity.

On a broader note, the ILO report says that young people who have not been inducted into the labor market and are not studying -- often representing 10 percent of the population in the 18-24 age group -- have ?become a serious concern for policymakers, in particular in developed countries.?

?In order to design appropriate labor market and macroeconomic policies to promote better labor market outcomes for youth, it is necessary to understand the specific situation of young people in labor markets,? the report says.

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