Youths hit hardest by high unemployment, says UN

February 6th, 2012 - 9:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) Unemployment among the youths has risen sharply in the recent years resulting in social unrest and political turmoil in many countries, especially in the Middle East and North Africa region, a United Nations report said Monday.

In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the global youth unemployment rate saw its largest annual increase in 2009, resulting in around 75.8 million unemployed youths.

The situation has not improved much since then. In 2010, the global youth unemployment rate was 12.6 percent, which was substantially higher when compared to the global adult unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, according to a United Nations report titled “Youth Employment: Youth Perspectives on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times”.

“Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in the report.

“They are demanding their rights and a greater voice in economic and political life. We need to pull the UN system together like never before to support a new social contract of job-rich economic growth. Let us start with young people,” he said.

The report points out that high unemployment among youths was one of the main reasons for the recent political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa region, which saw hundreds getting killed in clashes and regime change in some countries.

The total youth unemployment rate in 2010 was 25.5 percent in the Middle East and 23.8 percent in North Africa. Female youth unemployment in these regions was particularly striking, at 39.4 percent in the Middle East and 34.1 percent in North Africa.

Even after finding work, young workers continue to confront job instability, few opportunities for skills development and advancement, and joblessness.

They are more likely to be in vulnerable jobs, which can further adversely affect their future livelihood and income prospects. In fact, young people make up a disproportionate number of the world’s working poor, the report said.

Data on the working poor, many of whom work in the informal economy, is limited. However, where data is available, youths represent 23.5 percent of the total working poor, compared with just 18.6 percent of non-poor workers.

Young people who are able to find a job must accept “an extremely low salary. Some employers are using this as an opportunity to exploit youth,” the report quoted Parth, a 24-year old from India, as saying.

The report, released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, also outlines the situation of young people in the labour market and youth employment trends.

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