AmCham Macedonia Summer 2013 (issue 38) - Page 17

ANALYSIS Unemployed Youth: a Global Challenge One of every 4 people between the ages of 15-29 in Macedonia is neither attending school nor working but–perhaps most concerning–is also not actively looking for a job. While the double dip recession has exacerbated unemployment and underemployment globally, it is exacting a particularly punishing toll on young people. Recent graduates with little or no experience are waiting longer and longer for their first job and often only find below their expectations. The trend also feeds fears that Generation Z (born roughly 19952012) may not achieve a standard of living better than their parents, given that they will start building their skills – and therefore earning potential – much later. This puts a damper on both youth motivation and productivity but also means governments the world over are missing out on potential tax revenue, pension system contributions and more. Thus, urgency is building around the issue in many circles. Bloomberg’s Senior Economist Joseph Brusuelas pointed out recently that the United States could lose $18 billion in wages over the next decade as a result of its 1.3 million unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds; he also noted that these are conservative estimates. He says that if America’s unemployed youth remain jobless for an extended period, the economy will suffer to the tune of $44 billion over the next decade. A recent report by public policy organization, Demos, entitled “Stuck: Young America’s Persistent Jobs Crisis”1 noted that “there are more than 5.6 million 18 to 34-year-olds who are willing and able to take a job and actively looking for work, but shut out of opportunities for employment….An additional 4.7 million young people were underemployed—either working part time when they really wanted full-time positions or marginalized from the labor market altogether. Last year, the unemployment and underemployment rates for people under 25 were more than double those for workers over 35.” To add insult to injury, graduates from U.S. universities most often carry student loan debt, which means they start off their careers with debt and won’t begin saving for a home or retirement until much later. And tuition inflation in the country is unlikely to slow, given that many young people go back to school when the job market cools. This means that young people without college degrees will be in an even worse situation as the job market picks up. After all, if no one has any job experience, those with degrees will be employed first. The EU’s rate of youth unemployment has risen by 8% since the crisis began and now stands at 23%. According to Eurostat, nearly 5.6 million people between the ages of 15-24 are jobless. However, countries like Greece and Spain are already reaching 50%. The EU’s rate of youth unemployment has risen by 8% since the crisis began and now stands at 23%. According to Eurostat, nearly 5.6 million people between the ages of 15-24 are jobless. However, countries like Greece and Spain are already reaching 50%. Many young people in these countries are coming to terms with the necessity of living with their parents until they are 30; some of them have moved back home after years on their own. In early July, EU leaders met in Berlin to discuss possible anti-youth unemployment measures, given their recognition that it is one of the most dangerous trends of the current economic climate. It appears that at least initially, the summit will result in increased cooperation between members’ employment agencies.2 1 http://www.demos.org/publication/ 2 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/world/ stuck-young-americas-persistent-jobs-crisis europe/eu-leaders-discuss-ways-to-tackle-youthunemployment.html?_r=0 17 Emerging Macedonia Summer 2013 Issue 38