EU to unveil proposals on youth jobless as recession persists

The European Union will on Wednesday make proposals to combat youth unemployment, which has jumped to almost one-quarter of the under-25 labor force amid a record- long recession in the euro area.

The jobless rate for people less than 25 years old in the eurozone has risen to 24.4 percent, while the rate for the full labor force in the 17-nation economy stands at 12.2 percent, the highest since the single currency was launched.

“Young people under 25 are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as the rest of the working-age population, and in some countries -– including Greece and Spain -– more than half of those under 25 and on the labor market are out of a job,” according to the EU.

Wednesday’s proposals will be forwarded to EU leaders at a summit next week. EU President Herman Van Rompuy, who will lead the meeting of the the 27 heads of state and government on June 27-28 in Brussels, warned three days ago that the jobless crisis will be difficult to tackle.

“We will have growth next year, but not sufficient to dramatically decrease the level of unemployment,” Van Rompuy said on June 17 at a meeting of Group of Eight leaders in Northern Ireland. “It will not be enough to substantially decrease unemployment, especially unemployment of the youngsters.’’