FT on youth unemployment

In: Uncategorized

16 Aug 2011

Some interesting facts but misleading comparisons in yesterday’s Financial Times comment on youth unemployment:

“High youth unemployment is not just a North African problem. The looting that ravaged English cities last week happened in a country where one in five young people is jobless. The picture in the US is no better. In continental Europe it is worse. More than 45 per cent of young Spaniards and 38 per cent of young Greeks are out of work. With developed economies facing years of austerity and sluggish growth, the picture is unlikely to improve in the near future.”

What is striking her is not just the pervasiveness of youth unemployment but the variation in the reaction towards it.

  • Although youth unemployment is high in North Africa as I argued in a previous article this is not a new phenomenon. What is new is that the unemployed have become increasingly well educated. That is educated young people are not getting jobs.
  • In continental Europe there is high unemployment but no rioting akin to Britain. Spain has seen peaceful protests by the indignados (indignants) while the Greek protests have been explicitly aimed against austerity.
  • In Britain, as I argued on a previous post (11 August), it is wrong to see the riots as a response to unemployment.