Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Europe's Youth Employment Outlook ... Ours, Too? ... Let's Hope Not

In Europe, Signs of a Jobless Generation says this about the likely future for Europe's young people:

"Euro-zone youth unemployment will remain elevated for at least the next half-decade, the International Labor Organization said Tuesday, forecasting a small reduction in the jobless rate will come from young people withdrawing from the labor market instead of stronger hiring activity.

The Geneva-based agency of the United Nations projects that 15-to-24 year-olds in the 17-member economic bloc will face jobless rates of nearly 22% in 2013 that will dip modestly to 21.4% in 2017. In the U.S., youth unemployment is forecast to fall from 17.4% this year to 13.3% in 2017.

Long-term youth unemployment has long-term consequences for young people and for businesses, according to the ILO and other labor market experts.

The longer someone is out of work, the harder it is for them to get a job and the more likely they will be stuck in lower-paying or temporary positions for the rest of their working lives. Already, more young people are being pushed into part-time work contracts, unable to secure permanent alternatives.

"Temporary and long-term unemployment early in a person's work life will have lasting effects on finding a job with the proper career perspectives related to that person's competences and skills. In some case, even 10 or 15 years after the person's entry in the labor market can he or she continue to suffer from such early adverse labor market conditions," said Ekkehard Ernst, Chief of the ILO Employment Trends Unit.

"Skills and labor market experience typically start to deteriorate after six months of unemployment and then at an increasing rate."

Youth unemployment is also a risk to the companies expecting to rely on their labor. Employers will face the challenge of finding workers qualified to fill vacancies, especially as the stretched-out recovery is "likely to intensify the quest of young, more mobile people to seek their fortunes abroad," says the ILO."

Summing Up

The lack of sufficient youth employment is a serious worldwide condition.

As is underemployment, again especially among the young.

And the problem isn't going to disappear anytime soon.

The U.S. has a lengthy track record of solid economic growth led by the private sector.

We've long been the envy of the world in this regard.

Unfortunately, that track record has now been interrupted by boatloads of debt and a government knows best approach to our fiscal and overspending issues.

Until we get our priorities in order, we will be putting far too many of our young people through a prolonged and unnecessary period of unemployment and underemployment.

The jobless generation isn't strictly a European matter. Not at all.

Thanks. Bob.

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