Jobs for youth are globally scarce

The agency, the International Labour Organisation, said in a report that of some 620 million young people ages 15 to 24 in the work force, about 81 million were unemployed at the end of 2009, the highest level in two decades of record-keeping by the organization, which is based in Geneva. The youth unemployment rate increased to 13 per cent in 2009 from 11.9 per cent in the last assessment in 2007.

The agency forecast that the global youth unemployment rate would continue to increase through 2010, to 13.1 per cent, as the effects of the economic downturn continue. It should then decline to 12.7 per cent in 2011. The agency’s 2010 report found that unemployment has hit young people harder than adults during the financial crisis, from which most economies are only just emerging, and that recovery of the job market for young men and women will lag behind that of adults.

The impact of the crisis also has been felt in shorter hours and reduced wages for those who maintain salaried employment. In some especially strained European countries, many young people have become discouraged and given up the job hunt, it said.

The trend will have “significant consequences for young people,” as more and more join the ranks of the already unemployed, it said. That has the potential to create a “ ‘lost generation’ comprised of young people who have dropped out of the labor market, having lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living.” The report said that young people in developing economies are more vulnerable to precarious employment and poverty.

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