Global youth unemployment rate to worsen, says ILO paper

Wednesday, September 05, 2012
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Geneva: A new United Nations paper says jobless rates among young people will get even worse globally as the spill-over of the euro crisis spreads from advanced to emerging economies.

Ekkehard Ernst, the lead author of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO)'s paper, entitled 'Global Employment Outlook: Bleak Labour Market Prospects for Youth', said "the global youth unemployment rate will now climb up to 12.7 percent in 2013, which is 400,000 more young jobseekers worldwide since last year."

The ILO paper notes that the global youth unemployment rate will reach 12.9 per cent by 2017 – up 0.2 percentage points from forecasts for 2012. Also, the youth unemployment is projected to be highest in North Africa and the Middle East, with a 25 per cent rate forecast over the next years.

Ernst said that "even other regions that have been less affected by young jobseekers in the past such as East Asia and South-East Asia and the Pacific, now see increasingly an impact from the global crisis."

He said the spill over effects from the Eurozone crisis are related to trade and to "confidence effects that it will have an impact on these regions in the future."

The paper forecasts the youth unemployment rate in developed economies dropping gradually, from 17.5 per cent this year to 15.6 per cent in 2017 – far higher than the rate of 12.5 per cent registered in 2007, before the crisis struck.

Much of this decline in the jobless rate, said Ernst, is not due to improvements in the labour market but rather to large numbers of young people dropping out of the labour force altogether "as they find it more and more difficult to actually find a job."

ILO noted in a news release that these discouraged youth are not counted among the unemployed.

The labour agency notes that even in countries with early signs of a jobs recovery and where new vacancies are opening up; many unemployed youth still find it difficult to land a job. For example, a construction worker whose job was lost during the housing bust might not have the skills needed in sectors that are hiring.

Ernst said "this skill mismatch needs to be addressed and one of the possibilities to do that is by governments offering training and employment guarantees."

According to the paper, such youth guarantees can come at very limited cost, less than half a per cent of gross domestic product among European countries.

At its annual conference in June this year, ILO adopted a resolution calling for immediate, targeted and renewed action to tackle the youth employment crisis. The resolution provides a portfolio of tried and tested measures in five areas: macro-economic policies, employability, labour market policies, youth entrepreneurship and rights. It underscores the need for balance, coherence and complementarity across the policy measures.

According to ILO, the world is facing a worsening youth employment crisis: young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and over 75 million youth worldwide are looking for work. The labour agency has previously warned of a "scarred" generation of young workers facing a dangerous mix of high unemployment, increased inactivity and precarious work in developed countries, as well as persistently high working poverty in the developing world. -UNifeed
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