Nearly two-thirds of Greek youths are unemployed

Repeated austerity under international bailouts has almost tripled Greece’s jobless

A man checks a document outside an employment office in Athens

A man checks a document outside an employment office in Athens

Fri, May 10, 2013, 01:12

Greek youth unemployment shot to a record 64 per cent in February, underscoring the poor state of the recession-hit economy despite signs of improving business sentiment.

Repeated austerity under international bailouts has almost tripled Greece’s jobless rate since its debt crisis began in 2009, weighing on an economy in its sixth year of recession.

Overall unemployment has risen to an all-time high of 27 per cent, data showed yesterday, while joblessness in the 15-24 age group jumped to 64.2 per cent in February from 59.3 per cent in January.

“I’ve been looking for a job since 2010 and it has been extremely tough,” said Angeliki Zerva (24), a physiotherapy graduate. “Most employers do the job with interns and don’t need to hire anyone.”

Greek unemployment is more than twice the average rate in the euro zone, which reached 12.1 per cent in March.


Minimum wage
Athens has cut the minimum monthly wage for those under 25 years by 32 per cent to about €500 to boost hiring, but the jobless rate among young people has kept rising, even as some indicators suggest the worst of Athens’s debt crisis is over.

The latest figures from Greece come as a report by a UN agency has warned that young people are giving up on the search for work, depriving society of a generation of skilled workers.

It revealed global youth unemployment has risen to near its crisis peak and predicted it will keep rising over the next five years.

The report by the International Labour Office also warned of the social unrest risked by large swathes of the young population out of work. It highlighted a rise in the number of young people who are neither in employment nor education or training, the so-called “Neet” group.

The ILO said the global youth unemployment rate, which had been falling after hitting 12.7 per cent in 2009, has climbed this year to 12.6 per cent, and the rate – which covers those 15-24 – is forecast to reach 12.8 per cent by 2018.

Painting a grim picture for school leavers and graduates across large parts of the world, the ILO said young people continue to be almost three times more likely than adults to be unemployed.


Longer queues
“The weakening of the global recovery in 2012 and 2013 has further aggravated the youth jobs crisis and the queues for available jobs have become longer and longer for some unfortunate jobseekers. So long, in fact, that many youths are giving up on the job search,” said the ILO’s Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report.

The ILO report stressed that for those young people who do find work, the outcome is often far from ideal – damaging the prospects of both the individuals and the wider economy. Increasing numbers have to settle for part-time or temporary jobs.
– (Guardia n, Reuters)