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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