Youth Unemployment is Widespread & Worsening, says New Report

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 13 2015 (IPS) - Youth make up approximately 40 percent of the world’s unemployed and are up to four times more likely to be unemployed than adults, Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) revealed in a new report released here.

S4YE, a global multi-stakeholder coalition including the World Bank Group and International Labor Organization (ILO), documented its findings on the global youth unemployment crisis in a report entitled “Towards Solutions for Youth Employment: A 2015 Baseline Report.”

“Today we see a generation with massive potential, yet in economic crisis,” S4YE stated in its report released on Oct 13. With 1.8 billion young people in the world, most of whom live in developing countries, one third are not in employment, education, or training (NEET).

One in four young people in the world also cannot find jobs paying more than US$1.25 per day, the global extreme poverty line. Young women are disproportionately affected by unemployment, as unemployment levels are up to 10 percent higher for young women than young men.

S4YE notes that the financial crisis and global recession are among the leading causes of youth unemployment. They also note insufficient skills as well as mismatches between education and skills as chief concerns.

Surveys have found that between 25 percent and 45 percent of the employed are either overqualified or underqualified for their jobs across 24 countries in Europe. In 27 low and middle-income countries worldwide, less than half of employees were considered well-matched. This is especially the case in emerging economies that are more service-based.

In other countries, many of the unemployed are highly educated but lack the necessary technical or vocational skills. People are also simply living and working longer, S4YE notes. Over the next decade, more than one billion young people will enter the market. However, only 40 percent will be able to enter jobs that currently exist.

The report highlights the need for job creation to keep employment rates stable. The global economy will need to create 600 million jobs over the next 10 years, approximately 5 million new jobs per month.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, youth unemployment and underemployment rates have reached its peak, and are likely to worsen in many low-income countries, projections indicate.

“When young people are not fully participating in the labor force or are NEETs, governments forgo tax revenue and incur the cost of social safety nets, unemployment benefits and insurances, and lost productivity,” the report noted as key consequences.

The report adds that exclusion from the labor force will contribute to inequality and social tension. S4YE called for action on youth unemployment.

“Without a renewed sense of purpose and action from us all, our good intentions outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will ultimately wither—and a generation will be lost,“ S4YE said.

“Today’s youth will not be able to escape poverty or address economic exclusion by 2030 if they do not have a means of employment,” the report continued.

Five indicators related to youth unemployment are included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For instance, target 8.6 aims to reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education, or training by 2020. The report provides a baseline to help track and measure progress in the SDGs.


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