Thursday, June 6, 2013

(Business) Youth Unemployment: no country for young men (or women)

Last year the carnage report published an article entitled “the kids are not alright” and detailed the plight facing may students the US and elsewhere and nearly a year on, the trend has continued. While last year’s article focused mostly on the growing student debt crisis in many countries, this article will address the very real problem of youth unemployment which many government have failed or avoided completely to address.

While Greece has many problems that are well documented in the press, the real that could really bring the country to its knees and keep them there for generations is its ridiculously high youth unemployment rate that sits currently at an incredible 64.2%[1] Unemployment rates like these can only spell trouble as the future generation of Greece currently studying and dreaming of a prosperous and secure future may find that their goals are unattainable in their country of birth.

This may lead to a feared “brain drain” that is already happening in Greece as immigration shot up with 40% departing Greece to Germany [2]. The youth unemployment in Greece is just a reflection of what is happening in the Eurozone as a whole as nearly 1 in 4 young adults are currently unemployed with crisis hit countries such as “Spain (56.4%), Portugal (42.5%) and Italy (40.5%)” posting the highest rate of youth unemployment and not surprisingly, political unrest[3].

While the Eurozone crisis has had a large part to play in the fortune of many of the countries directly involved, in the UK it has become clear that the problem of youth unemployment was prevalent “before the recession began”[4]. They have chosen to focus on young people on people who lack skills or the experience required by employers by focusing on “training” despite “mixed results”[5]. This is because other factors that may influence the high level of unemployment are not addressed.

Youth unemployment also has other effect other than the societal as youth unemployment cost Britain nearly £5 billion and the wider economy “in lost output”[6]. If current trends are uninterrupted, it could cost the government “approximately £28 billion”[7]. While this may cost the government only a fraction of it current QE program pumping money into financial institutions, the greater effect is that unemployment will create a generation without faith in its country’s future and may end up living a life deprived of real opportunity.

Any adult who has been unemployed can testify to the crushing feeling accrued through a sustained spell in unemployment and one can only imagine the effects it is having on many young adults across the globe.

In sum, youth unemployment is not issues to avoid as it will not go away and can end up destroying a generation in terms of earning potential and even mental and physical health. Finally, governments must  act now as if they don’t act, a generation will grow poorer and with a clear ambivalence towards a government that ignored them.

[1] M.Lowen, 2013, Greece’s young: Dreams on hold as fight for jobs looms,
[2] Ibid
[3] S. Croucher, 2013, Eurozone Youth Unemployment Rises as Debt Crisis Deepens,
[5] Ibid
[6] ACEVO, 2012, Youth Unemployment:the crisis we cannot afford,
[7] Ibid

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