International Year of Youth - Fact Sheet - Youth Employment

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Across the globe, the economic crisis has had a dramatic impact on the challenges facing young people seeking jobs. Between 2008 and 2009, the youth unemployment rate has seen the largest annual increase on record, reversing the pre-crisis trend of declining youth unemployment rates since 2002 and rising to 13 per cent in 2009. Unemployment rates, however, reflect only the tip of the iceberg. Young people are prone to work longer hours under informal, intermittent and insecure work arrangements characterized by low productivity and earnings and reduced social protection. Young workers are more exposed to poverty than other age groups. In 2008, an estimated 152 million young workers were living with their families on less than US$1.25 a day, amounting to more than 28 per cent of all young workers in the world. The lack of Decent Work exposes young people to high levels of economic uncertainty. Although vital to the future prosperity of society, youth encounter disproportionate difficulties in finding and maintaining decent jobs. A poor employment record in the early stages of a young person’s career can harm job prospects for life. A generation without hope for decent employment can be a problem for families, the economy and society at large. The inability to find stable employment creates a sense of frustration and idleness among young people. It poses significant challenges, therefore, to youth themselves, but also significant economic costs in terms of lost output and social costs. Furthermore, it hampers the capacity of companies and countries to innovate and develop competitive advantages.

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