Youth Unemployment Up 4 Million Worldwide Since 2007

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ILO News– The global youth unemployment rate for 2012 remains stuck at crisis peak levels and is not expected to come down until at least 2016, says the International Labor Organization (ILO) in its Global Employment Trends for Youth 2012 report (

 Youth unemployment remains high in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Youth unemployment remains high and economic growth slow in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Projections show 12.7% of the global youth labor force will be unemployed this year, unchanged from the peak of the crisis in 2009, and slightly up from last year’s 12.6%, the report says.

The rate would even be higher if one takes into account those who – often discouraged by the lack of prospects – give up or postpone looking for a job. The adjusted rate would put the global youth unemployment rate at 13.6% in 2011.

In terms of global numbers, there will be nearly 75 million unemployed youth aged 15 to 24 in 2012, an increase of nearly 4 million since 2007.

Further pressure on unemployment rates is expected when those extending their stay in the education system because of limited job prospects eventually enter the labor market.

“The youth unemployment crisis can be beaten but only if job creation for young people becomes a key priority in policy-making and private sector investment picks up significantly”, said José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, executive director of the ILO Employment Sector,.

“This includes measures such as offering tax and other incentives to enterprises who hire young people, efforts to reduce the skills mismatch among youth, entrepreneurship programs that integrate skills training, mentoring and access to capital, and the improvement of social protection for the young”, he added.

Youth Unemployment: What About The Regions?

Even though some regions have recovered from the economic crisis, or at least mitigated its impact, all face major youth employment challenges (see Youth unemployment rate estimates and projections by region).

  • In developed economies the situation is even worse than suggested by the 18% youth unemployment rate projected for this year, due to a massive drop-out from the labor force.
  • In the CIS, Central and South-Eastern Europe region, the youth unemployment rate dropped slightly to 17.6% in 2011. In contrast with the developed economies, youth participation rates appear to have increased due to the economic crisis in this region, which is likely to be partly poverty-driven.
  • In North Africa, youth unemployment rose by 5 percentage points following the Arab Spring, leaving 27.9% of young people jobless in 2011. In the Middle East the rate was of 26.5%.
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean the youth unemployment rate rose sharply during the economic crisis, from 13.7% in 2008 to 15.6 in 2009. It decreased to 14.3% in 2011, but no further improvement is expected in the medium term.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, the rate, at 11.5% in 2011, has been fairly stable since 2005.
  • In South-East Asia and the Pacific it was 13.5% in 2011, a 0.7 percentage point drop from the 2008 level.
  • Even in East Asia, perhaps the most economically dynamic region, the unemployment rate was 2.8 times higher for young people than for adults.

Other key findings on youth unemployment include:

  • Globally and in most regions, the crisis had a stronger impact on youth unemployment rates among women than men. The difference was particularly strong in North Africa, while in developed economies, the impact was stronger for young men.
  • Many young people are trapped in low-productivity, temporary or other types of work that don’t pave the way for better jobs. In developed economies, youth are increasingly employed in temporary and part-time jobs while in the developing world many perform unpaid work supporting informal family businesses or farms.
  • Young people who are neither in employment nor in education have become a serious concern, particularly in developed economies. This group often constitutes at least 10% of young people, and has grown rapidly in many developed countries.
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