Policy Options to Support Young Workers During Economic Recovery

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The global jobs crisis has hit young people hard. Of the world's estimated 211 million unemployed people in 2009, nearly 40 per cent - or about 81 million - were between 15 and 24 years of age. In many countries, this grim unemployment picture is darkened further by the large number of youth engaged in poor quality and low paid jobs with intermittent and insecure work arrangements, including in the informal economy. Many youth are poor or underemployed: some 152 million young people, or 28 per cent of all young workers in the world, work but live in households that earn less than the equivalent of US$1.25 per day. Youth unemployment and underemployment result in missed opportunities in terms of economic growth and development. The Global Jobs Pact, adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2009, highlights the labour market vulnerabilities of young people and calls for action to support youth at risk. During the jobs crisis, many governments have taken measures to sustain youth employment through a combination of incentives for new employment, employment services, skills development, income support, public works and community services, and youth entrepreneurship. This brief highlights a number of lessons learned from the implementation of initiatives during past crises. The latter could be taken into consideration by governments, in concert with the social partners, to design interventions aimed at promoting decent work for young people during economic recovery.

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