Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Europe in for higher youth unemployment

Unemployed workers wait outside a government job center in the Spanish capital, Madrid, July 29, 2011.

Source: Press TV

The European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat, says the high rates of youth unemployment that sparked protests across the 17-nation bloc in 2011 are likely to climb.

New data released by Eurostat shows that the unemployment rate among 15- to 24-year-old job seekers in the Eurozone is still over 1 in 5, or 20.3 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

"Youth unemployment is going to reach record highs," said Alessandro Turrini, head of the Labor-Market Reforms unit in the Economics Directorate of the European Commission.

Experts expect the rate to rise again, nearing the peak of 21.2 percent it reached 20 months ago as the region's debt crisis and budget cutbacks started to bite.

This is in spite of an economic recovery that began in the second quarter of 2009.

Many analysts have voiced concern that joblessness for long periods can exert harmful effects on young people.

"Beyond the negative effects on future wages and employability, long spells of unemployment while young often create permanent scars," said the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in a report last year.

The Eurozone plunged into a debt crisis in early 2010, as the specter of insolvency threatened debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain.

"The current economic crisis has drastically increased youth unemployment problems and threatens to lead a whole generation to collapse," the European Employment Observatory, an EU financial agency, said in a report on Spain, where high levels of joblessness and the government's austerity measures have triggered massive popular demonstrations in recent months.

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