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Youth unemployment in Europe and the world: Causes, consequences and solutions

Dennis Görlich, Ignat Stepanok and Fares Al-Hussami

No 59, Kiel Policy Brief from Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)

Abstract: The recent Employment and Social Developments report by the European Commission has drawn a bleak picture of the economic situation in Europe. Unemployment levels are on record-highs, household incomes have declined, and risks of poverty and social exclusion have risen, most notably in Southern and Eastern Europe. The group of young adults faces a particularly high risk, as long-term unemployment rates of this group have increased in many countries, and skill mismatch has become more severe. However, youth unemployment is not only a European, but a global issue, with varying levels of severity across countries. The causes of youth unemployment also vary by country, and so do the solutions. Given the long-term risks of extended unemployment spells, the importance of tackling youth unemployment can hardly be overestimated. Youth are the potential and future of every country and governments with a long-term vision for welfare and development in their countries are concerned with the best ways to integrate the young people into the labour force. The topic has been receiving media attention and has been discussed in many business and policy forums. In the European Union, youth unemployment currently ranks very highly on the policy agenda. The European Commission has recently launched the Youth Opportunities Initiative in order to support unemployed youth. The aim is to supply funds for apprenticeship and entrepreneurship schemes, help with company placements and provide advice for young people with business ideas. This Kiel Policy Brief aims at introducing the reader to the topic of youth unemployment. After defining youth unemployment, it provides an overview on the extent of youth unemployment around the world, discusses some of the main reasons for, and consequences of youth unemployment, and concludes with a few solutions for how to reduce it.

Date: 2013
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