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This story focuses on Spain, with an incredible youth-unemployment rate of 42.9 %, but mentions similar problems in other countries including the US (19.1 %).

Why is the unemployment so much worse for young workers?

That is because the sectors that employ young people in the greatest numbers — fast food, construction, retail — are expected to take the longest to recover.

Young Spanish workers, like their counterparts in the rest of Europe, face other obstacles like union rules, long-term contracts and legal protections that shelter older workers and discourage new hiring, Mr. Osterman said.

The article also mentions policy as part of the problem:

In part, Spain is paying the price for its efforts to make it easier to put young people to work. In recent years, a disproportionate share of Spanish youth were employed on temporary contracts.

When profits diminish, of course, temporary contracts are the first to go. New policy, is it moving in the right direstion?

Spain is spending roughly 30 billion euros ($43 billion) a year on unemployment benefits, but the money is doing little to prepare younger workers for the future.

Mr. Herce said that Spain needed to invest more heavily in vocational education and retraining, and require the jobless to improve their skills.

Here is where I begin to have questions. Vocational training? Is that not why the young are unemployed now? They trained for a job that is no longer available. Maybe a better alternative is education of basic skills and creative thinking. Train young people to be creative in many different areas. Specialization, in our present world, gives only a temporary reward.

Then again, is it better to hire the young than the old? Many of these more developed countries face problems with government financed pension programs because young workers are less numerous than can afford the taxes to support the upcoming pensions. Which group do you support, older or younger? Younger because they may finance upcoming pension bills? Or the older because they can save and afford their own retirement?

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13 Comments

  1. Well, I think the problem is, given that there is a certain number of unemployment, if some new jobs become available for the labours, these jobs would be possibly taken by the older ones, right? And for now, in the time of world wide financial crisis, many people lost their jobs. Thus there might be more trained and experienced workers available in the market. So they obviously become priorer to new jobs than younger. And also that more old workers wanted to keep their jobs longer under this background, which would directly lead to the fact that more young people cannot find jobs.

  2. Well,as the article satated, the youth unemployment problem was regarded seriously in Europe.However,to my way of thinking, Unemployment rates must always be regarded with caution, especially as rates of unregistered unemployment among young people can be high. In some of the more affluent countries(such as CHINA), low levels of youth unemployment can coexist with a weak youth labour market as a result of extended participation in education by a high proportion, which is even more serious than that is in SPAIN.
    Qué pena!

  3. It’s a coincidence! I’m doing my coursework in unemployment.
    As I see it, the vocational eduction connot be an optimum solution of youth unemployment. Under the background of economics downture, there are oceans of skillful works available. This means that the demand of skillful work is nearly saturation, no new skillful workers should be added in workers’ pool.
    Honestly speaking, I don’t recongnize this problem is more relative to economy than youth people’ internal thinking. In spain or other european countries, unemployment people can enjoy a really high living guarantee which makes them lazy to be a worker. A better solution of it can be making policy that reduce the wekfare of youth in suitable age to work to encourage them.

    • what’s the title of your artile for coursework,,,i am afraid of using the same article as you did,.,.

    • Yeah!European countries welfare make them lazy!Maybe they think that Unployement is common phenomenon during that time(Fanancial crisis)!
      by the way !Are you Emma?

  4. well,,this is can be called the combination of frictional and structual unemployment…
    students just graduate from universities will naturally waiting for jobs..
    students without enough experience in certain fields will naturally be easily replaced by those mature old and professional workers…
    Government should encourage educational institutions to add more practical courses into the whole education system …for those university students ,the real and useful and practical internship activities are really necessary …
    On the otherside , youth need pressure ,,,the lack of awarness of how hard the life will be without parents often make those youth feel nothing to do for their future,of course many of them have no job,,,,maybe,,graduated student should get 1–2army trainning and independent living trainning ,,then they know they should find a job eagerly like a thirst vampire ….

    • Army trainning maybe cannot weak them up,How about banish them to some undeveloped countries!

        • Alex
        • Posted 2-January-2010 at 11:46 am
        • Permalink

        Sounds interesting…

        • Yuan
        • Posted 4-January-2010 at 10:22 pm
        • Permalink

        You two are a little bit brutal…

    • Hah..like a thirsty vampire, en… funky!!O(∩_∩)O~

  5. It is not only just in Spain has a such unempolyment,but also in china,maybe even worse than that in Spain.In China young people saw others earn so much money,so they always had a high expectation,and they always wanted higher wages,however the reality was not such optimastic.In this case,we have to understand the background first-the booming period after the crisis.The market is becoming inflated gradually,so from the Phillips curve,the inflation and the unemplyment has a negative corelation,however it is not fit to this case.So I think the time lag of the crisis cause this unemployment,as the market is booming,the employment will be better.

  6. This article might separate the spainish economy to two time period.the years ago, the spainish economy was still in the booming step, the working demand is more than the people who want to do the job, so the yourth gave up the school to do the job, according to the Phillip curve, when the inflation is happened, the more people get the job,the empolyment rate increase. But during the finacial crisis,the spainish economy is in the recession step,the inflation rate is decreasing, even the deflation is happened,so the employment rate is decreasing, so people with low education level are laid off.the development of firms is improve the productivity and effeciency, in order to reach these aims, the edge-cut techology equepment is needed.so the people who have professtional skill are required. So the those low education workers are redundant.

  7. As we know, generalist educatiom has been promoted because it is a good way to reduce the rate of youth unemployment. For instance, most of students in middle and primary school learn Mathmatics, Physics, Chemistry… They should be more all-around to adapt to fierce competition in present-day society. So education system of specialization will not be popular. It seems that old workers are more experienced and their unemployment tend to be more low-risk. However, if a firm wants to develop its production scale, it is sldo neccessary to hire more youths.


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