Austerity Fueling Youth Unemployment: Labor Organization

Government spending cuts in developed countries are hurting job creation and exacerbating global youth unemployment, which remains close to the peak hit during the 2009 crisis, the International Labor Organization said on Tuesday.

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The ILO warned that countries will have to step up measures aimed at first-time jobseekers to tackle the issue successfully.

“The austerity measures currently implemented in a wide range of developed economies bode ill for a quick recovery of youth labor markets,” the organization said in its “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2012” report.

“Macroeconomic and fiscal policies should include or enhance measures that support employment generation, bring about a sustained job recovery and finance the necessary investments in youth employment promotion,” it added.

The ILO expects youth unemployment to remain virtually unchanged in 2012 at 12.7 percent, compared to 12.6 percent in 2011.

“The global youth unemployment rate remains at least a full percentage point above its level in 2007,” the ILO said.

“Nearly 75 million youth are unemployed around the world, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007.”

Youth unemployment is “particularly pronounced” in the crisis-stricken European Union, the ILO said. Spain and Greece have recorded unemployment levels of over 50 percentamong under those under 25.

Anti-austerity voices in Europe have grown stronger in recent months, and the recent election of a new French President who wants to rein in Germany’s desire for austerity policies has added another influential voice.

Developed economies, including the European Union have been hit hardest by the crisis and its aftermath, with youth unemployment up by 26.5 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to the ILO.

The 4.7 percentage point rise in the region’s unemployment rate was the largest in any region around the world.