EU proposes ‘youth guarantees’ to help fight record unemployment

The European Union proposed a system of “youth guarantees” to help fight record unemployment among young people in the euro area.

The Youth Guarantee aims “to ensure that all young people up to age 25 receive a quality offer of a job, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed,” the European Commission, the EU executive in Brussels, said in a statement on Wednesday.

With the euro-area economy mired in a recession, the jobless rate among people under 25 increased to a 23.9 percent in October, more than double the overall unemployment rate and the highest since the data series started in 1995. The youth jobless rates for Spain and Greece are above 50 percent, according to data from Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.

Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted for a 10th straight month in November, data showed today, suggesting the economy may struggle to regain strength. The economy shrank 0.1 percent in the third quarter after a 0.2 percent contraction in the prior three months, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development last week forecast gross domestic product will decline 0.4 percent this year and 0.1 percent in 2013.

Labor-market reforms are “absolutely necessary,” EU President Herman Van Rompuy said last week. “There is no lasting growth without a strong base in manufacturing.”

The commission’s proposal urges EU governments to “establish strong partnerships with stakeholders” and ensure “early intervention by employment services and other partners supporting young people,” among other recommendations.

Across the euro area, 3.6 million persons under 25 were without a job in October, up 350,000 from the year-earlier month, according to Eurostat.


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