Economic Bulletin of September 7, 2012
By: Karl Brenke in: DIW Economic Bulletin 9/2012.
The crises of the past few years have led to a significant increase in youth unemployment in Europe. This, in turn, has highlighted the long standing phenomenon of well above average youth unemployment. In some countries, the youth unemployment rate reached unprecedented levels, although the rise of unemployment among young people was no more significant than among adults. Furthermore, the media portrayal of young people's situation is sometimes more negative than the reality, failing to take into consideration that the majority of young people are not even on the labor market but still completing their education. Nonetheless, across much of Europe, youth unemployment has become a more pressing social problem than it was a few years ago. In the EU as a whole, the youth unemployment rate is more than double the unemployment rate affecting the general population. Only in some countries is this connected with-alongside other factors-inadequate qualifications among young people because, even with training, young people are more likely to be unemployed than adults. However, in countries providing a high degree of professional training, employment prospects are not as poor as in those focusing predominantly on educational qualifications. Practical vocational training is obviously a potential tool for creating better job prospects for young people. The German labor market is the most open. In Germany, the fact that the youth unemployment rate is only slightly above average is solely the result of skills deficits. Young people in Italy, Romania, Sweden, the UK, and Poland are generally at a particular disadvantage compared to adults.