Young people ‘almost three times more likely than adults’ to be unemployed

Global youth unemployment has risen to close to its crisis peak and will climb higher as the economic recovery falters, a report by a UN agency has warned.

The International Labour Office said the youth unemployment rate had been falling since hitting 12.7% in 2009, but this year had climbed again to stand at 12.6%. The rate is forecast to reach 12.8% by 2018, reports The Guardian.

The ILO paints a grim picture for school leavers and graduates across large parts of the world, saying young people continue to be almost three times more likely than adults to be unemployed.

“The weakening of the global recovery in 2012 and 2013 has further aggravated the youth jobs crisis and the queues for available jobs have become longer and longer for some unfortunate jobseekers. So long, in fact, that many youth are giving up on the job search,” says the report, Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013.

The report stresses that for those who do find work, the outcome is often far from ideal – damaging the prospects of both the individuals and the wider economy.

Increasing numbers of young people are having to settle for part-time work or for temporary jobs. Informal employment among young people remains pervasive and skills mismatch on youth labour markets has become a “persistent and growing trend” with both overeducation and over-skilling as well as undereducation and under-skilling.

“Such a mismatch makes solutions to the youth employment crisis more difficult to find and more time consuming to implement. Moreover, to the extent that young people in employment are actually overqualified for the job they are doing, society is losing their valuable skills and forfeiting stronger productivity growth that would have been achieved had these young people been employed at their appropriate level of qualification,” the report says.

As it warns of the social unrest risked by large swaths of the young population out of work, the ILO underlines a rise in the number of young people neither in employment nor in education or training, the Neet group.

The Neet rate in OECD countries increased by 2.1 percentage points to reach 15.8% between 2008 and 2010. “In other words, around one in six young persons are without a job and not in education or training. In the European countries these trends are more pronounced both before and after the peak of the economic crisis,” the report says.

The report chimes with recent data from the eurozone that show young people continuing to be worst affected by the unemployment crisis. The jobless rate in the currency bloc hit a record 12.1% in March and youth unemployment was almost double that at 24%. In Greece and Spain more than one in two young people are unemployed.