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ILO Says Number of Young Unemployed to Rise Even Higher

Translated Saturday 22 September 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

According to the latest study on youth unemployment by the International Labor Organization, the future of the world’s young job-seekers, already hit hard by the economic crisis, will remain somber. The hardest hit are likely to be young people in North Africa and the Middle East, with a 0.2% increase over the forecast for 2012.

“The youth unemployment rate will worsen even more on a world scale because fallout from the euro crisis is spreading from the advanced economies to the emerging economies,” the ILO experts say. According to a paper entitled “Global Employment Outlook: Bleak Labor Market Prospects for Youth,” the youth unemployment rate will hit 12.9% in 2017, a 0.2% rise over the 2012 forecast (12.7%).

Young people in North Africa and the Middle East are hardest hit by joblessness, with a 2012 forecast for a 27.5% unemployment rate in North Africa and 26.4% in the Middle East. In the medium term, by 2017 the world unemployment rate for youth is likely to hit 12.9% In North Africa, the rate is likely to hit 26.7% and 28.4% in the Middle East.

“Even in countries with early signs of a jobs recovery and where new vacancies are opening up, many unemployed youth still find it difficult to land a job,” the ILO says. “This leads to discouragement and rising NEET rates (“neither in employment, education or training”) among young people,” said Ekkehard Ernst, the lead author of the paper and chief of the ILO’s Employment Trends Unit.

To help the jobless young out of job insecurity, the expert recommends recourse to schemes using employment guarantees and an emphasis on training. This could “help get jobseekers off the street and into useful activities, providing a safeguard against further economic stress,” he added.

According to the paper, such youth guarantees can come at very limited cost, less than half a per cent of GDP among European countries. “In times of constrained public finances, this may seem like a large additional burden, but it will be less than the additional costs that come from young unemployed people permanently losing touch with the labor market,” the ILO paper says.

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