Some 75 million young men and women around the world are jobless. That’s 40 percent of the global total and young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.
If those figures aren’t grim enough, a new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) warns that youth unemployment is set to rise worldwide as the fallout from the euro crisis reaches East Asia and Latin America, potentially leaving a “scarred” generation in its wake.
"As the euro area crisis continues in its second year, the impacts are spreading further… from advanced to emerging economies,” the UN labour agency pointed out, “worsening the situation for many young jobseekers.
The current global average youth unemployment rate is 12.7 percent but that rate varies dramatically depending on the region. So while in Europe, ground zero of the current crisis, youth unemployment rates are actually expected to drop slightly in the coming five-year period, in North Africa and the Middle East, 25 percent of young people will remain jobless, and that number could increase.
“Ironically, only in developed economies are youth unemployment rates expected to fall in the coming years, but this follows the largest increase in youth unemployment among all regions since the start of the crisis,” said Ekkehard Ernst, lead author of the paper and chief of the ILO’s Employment Trends Unit.
Although the youth unemployment rate in developed countries is expected to drop two percentage points by 2017 it will still be much higher than levels in 2007, before the crisis hit.
But the ILO cautioned against viewing youth unemployment by region, saying such an approach glosses over the large variations between countries, especially in Europe, where Spain and Greece are struggling with rates over 50 percent, while less than 10 percent of youths in Germany and Switzerland are unemployed.
The ILO is calling for governments to adopt policies to stimulate the labour market for young people, including creating jobs, public employment programmes and training subsidies.