NEWS

Specter of unemployment

As the years pass, the 15-30 age group constitutes an ever-dwindling section of the economically active population. This is due not only to a drop in the youth population as a whole, but also to a tendency by young people to concentrate on education. If young people aged 15-24 accounted for 12.6 percent of the working population in 2000, by 2002 this figure had dropped to 10.6 percent, barely reaching 13 percent for those aged 25-29. Longer periods of time spent on education create better opportunities for young people, but they can also pose dangers. The longer they stay under the protective family roof, the more difficult it is for them to enter the world of work. And from the ranks of the jobless, they join the long-term unemployed. Half of all unemployed people are young. The age groups 20-24 and 25-29 have unemployment rates of 25 percent and 16 percent respectively, much higher than the national average of 9 percent. Young people as a whole have an unemployment rate of 20 percent – which rises to 30 percent for women. Social repercussions are not as great as they might have been because unemployed youth are often supported by their families. However, experts point out that pressures on household income will in the future jeopardize this safety net and young people might be driven to social exclusion and marginalization. To prevent this, they propose that the State help with education costs, boost job-seeking services, extend lifelong learning, and provide effective support for the creation of enterprises by young people. What they do Young people aged 20-24 (28 percent) chiefly work in the service industry (as guides, tuition center teachers, managers, economists, chambermaids, waiters, nurses, hairdressers, beauticians, household help, firefighters, police officers, models and salespeople), less often (19 percent) in manual labor (in the building trades, mines, metal works and factories) and as office workers (15.7 percent). At this age, young people have either not gone to university or have not finished it. Few, strikingly enough, are engaged in farming. Half of these are senior high school leavers, 15 percent have finished junior high and 19.7 percent have only finished primary school. Twelve percent of young people aged 25-29 work as scientists or artists, about 11 percent in technological professions, and 6 percent as executives in the public and private sectors. What is striking is that so few work in the sciences, despite the large number that went to university. Young people tend to work in fields other than their field of study – a problem that carries social and economic repercussions. However, the bulk of working young people at all ages consists of senior high school leavers, who, together with junior high and primary school leavers, account for 63 percent of the total. Working young people with university education account for 15.3 percent of the total, and those from technical colleges, 20 percent. The majority of unemployed youngsters are also senior high school leavers (39.2 percent) and graduates of technical colleges (17.3 percent). Twenty-four percent find work through friends and acquaintances, as a continuation of their education (23 percent) or through individual efforts (17 percent). They know the importance of education, but consider contacts essential. They know little about programs set up to combat unemployment.