Since the start of the Great Recession of 2007, youth unemployment has been on the rise across the globe, a new report by the International Labor Office (ILO) has found out, and austerity policies are making the situation worse. The FT reports:
Dr Ekkehard Ernst, head of the ILO’s Employment Trends Unit, said countries with the most acute problems such as Spain and Greece must try to stimulate their economies rather than reduce government spending.
“What is quite obvious with youth unemployment rates of over 50 per cent in these countries is the first thing that needs to be done is get jobs back … and that can only be done if you stimulate the economy, for instance through infrastructure programmes, which are very job rich,” he said.
Fiscal retrenchment in these countries is exacerbating youth unemployment, he argued. “We have always been of the opinion that these really strict austerity programmes … are making the problem worse.”
Developed countries and the European Union have experienced the steepest rise in youth unemployment – which the ILO defines as ages 15 to 24 – since the financial crisis. Youth unemployment in this country grouping will reach 18 per cent this year and ease to 16 per cent by 2016, the ILO forecast, still much higher than the 2007’s rate of 12.5 per cent.
If you want to hear about the problem from the ILO itself just watch the video below:
In the European Union in particular, recent developments in youth unemployment have been dramatic as Eurostat data shows:
Youth unemployment rates in the EU 27 and the Eurozone
The recent developments are indeed a disaster and you might also call the situation a political scandal. How is it possible that more than one in five young people in Europe have no job and so many more are working in precarious circumstances? How is it possible that the policy direction sold as the way out of the Eurozone crisis (the disastrous austerity policies) have the effect of causing more than 50% youth unemployment in Greece and Spain? Against this backdrop is it really a surprise that radical fringe parties on the right and the left are gaining ground across Europe?
It is high time to get a grip on the issue. For this reason the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Social Europe Journal are running a series of articles, interviews and commentaries in the coming months which will look at the issue in general as well as into specific situations in EU member states. We aim to present detailed analyses of national circumstances as well as general trends. On this basis, we hope to develop more targeted ideas to address this urgent problem.
We cannot afford a lost generation in Europe. We must tackle and solve the problem now!