Youth Unemployment in Spain - Situation and Policy Recommendations

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The Great Recession has had a significant social impact in Spain, where the effects on the labour market caused by the change in the economic cycle have been more profound than in many other European countries. Almost three million jobs have been lost between 2008 and 2012, which represents a year-on-year decline of 15 per cent. As a result, the level of employment has fallen by 10 per cent, to a rate of 58 per cent, while unemployment has risen dramatically to 5.6 million and a rate of 24.6 per cent, the highest in the European Union (EU). A question of particular relevance is the fact that the significant decline in employment has not affected all age groups in the same way, with young people being particularly hard hit. This has also been the case in the rest of Europe, although not to such a pronounced degree, thereby confirming the general principle of "the last person hired is the first to be laid off". The result is a number of 922,000 young unemployed (below 25 years of age) in 2012 and a youth unemployment rate of 52 per cent, the second highest in the EU, after Greece. The main aim of this report is to study the phenomenon of youth unemployment in Spain by examining its characteristics and causes, and suggesting possible measures to tackle it. To this end, the content is structured as follows: Section 1 includes a diagnosis of youth unemployment in Spain, and the main factors responsible for the greater vulnerability of young people in the current economic crisis. Section 2 offers a general assessment of the labour market reforms approved in Spain since the beginning of the crisis. Section 3 focuses on a series of possible measures aimed at encouraging the creation of jobs for young people. Finally, the report includes a statistical annex, with data on youth unemployment for the period 2000-2012, which is not fully reflected in the text.


Fernando Rocha Sánchez

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