The employment outlook for young people worldwide is grim, according to an analysis released Sept. 4 by the International Labor Organization.
Fueled by ripples of the collapse in the banking and housing industries in the U.S. and Europe, and by the ongoing financial crisis affecting the European Union, joblessness among young workers is expected to spread to countries in East Asia and Latin America and to get worse overall, the agency, part of the United Nations, warned.
In 2011, an estimated 12.5 percent of job-seekers between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed, the agency said. That rate is projected to increase to 12.9 percent by 2017.
The exception to that trend will be seen in “developed economies,” where jobless rates are expected to drop, the ILO said. But even that is “principally because discouraged young people are withdrawing from the labor market and not because of stronger hiring activity among youngsters.”
The global numbers mask more disturbing trends among individual countries and regions. For example, youth unemployment in the Middle East (25.7 percent) and North Africa (27.1 percent) far exceeds that in South Asia (9.6 percent) and East Asia (9.2 percent.)
And even among “developed economies” there are disparities in youth unemployment rates, with less than 10 percent of young people out of work in Germany and Switzerland, and about 17 percent of that group unemployed in the United States and New Zealand, but almost 50 percent jobless in South Africa and Spain.
“Without additional jobs being created, young people cannot expect to find employment,” the ILO said. “However, given the sheer size of the problem, even a quick acceleration in growth may not provide sufficient job opportunities in a short period of time.”
The agency recommended that countries adopt “targeted measures” to lower the jobless rates among youth, including job training programs and giving incentives to companies that hire youth.