Young and jobless? It’s not getting better, U.N. agency says

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Unemployment rates are expected to edge higher in coming years for young people worldwide, the International Labor Organization said in an analysis released Tuesday.

In the coming years, the euro crisis is predicted to be felt far beyond Europe in East Asia and Latin America, the agency warned. Last year, 12.5% of job-seekers between the ages of 15 and 24 were estimated to be unemployed, the ILO said, a rate projected to increase to 12.9% by 2017.

The most notable exception to the trend of growing youth unemployment is ‘developed economies,’ where youth unemployment is expected to drop, the U.N. agency said.

Even there, however, the drop is ‘principally because discouraged young people are withdrawing from the labor market and not because of stronger hiring activity among youngsters.’


The global numbers also mask some big gaps around the world: Youth unemployment is far higher in the Middle East (25.7%) and North Africa (27.1%) than in South Asia (9.6%) and East Asia (9.2%.) Even within regions such as Europe, there are striking differences in youth unemployment rates, with less than 10% out of work in Germany and Switzerland compared to more than 50% in Spain.

‘Without additional jobs being created, young people cannot expect to find employment,’ the ILO said. ‘However, given the sheer size of the problem, even a quick acceleration in growth may not provide sufficient job opportunities in a short period of time.’ The U.N. agency recommended that countries adopt targeted programs for young people, including providing training and giving companies tax cuts to hire young people. Such programs, it argued, can actually save countries money by keeping young people in the labor market.


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles