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Youth unemployment in Europe

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Youth unemployment in Europe


Question from Omar in Spain:

“I am 25 and I’ve got a Degree and a Master. And now, as most young people in Europe, I don’t know what to do or where to go. The only thing we’ve been doing since we were born, is study and study in order to have a good future. But now we can’t see any future. Does Europe has any plan to help us?”

Answer from Theo Sparreboom, Senior Labour Economist at the International Labour Office:

“Unfortunately, what is happening to this young person is not unique to Spain. What you see in Europe as a whole is that the unemployment rate for young people went up from 15.8% in 2007 to around 22.5% in July this year.

Spain is a particularly difficult case in the sense that it is one of the few countries where actually more than half of the active young people, that is people looking for a job, are unemployed.

What is important is that the macro-economy improves in order to have growth again, and what we should realise is that even at the best of times, young people are often in a disadvantaged position in the labour market – that is, it takes more time for them to find a job, they don’t have experience, they often lack the networks to even get started.

One of the options is to look into “youth employment guarantee schemes” offering young people concrete opportunities – that is, provide young people either with an option to go into training or offer them some job, so that they do not have to continue looking for a job and get increasingly demotivated.

Even a temporary opportunity can indeed improve their networks and give them some hope for the future.

But what we see at the moment is simply not sufficient and more needs to be done. We think it’s going to be difficult for quite a few years to come. At a global level, according to the projections we have at the moment, there is no improvement in youth unemployment rates.

In Europe, you can see some improvement in the medium term, but it’s at least partly due to the fact that quite a few young people have given up, they have dropped out of the labour market altogether and in that way they are not counted in the unemployment statistics.”

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