Even though Poland does not belong to the group of countries where the global crisis has had an extensively negative impact on the economy in statistical terms, the main negative phenomena concerning its youth include the rise of unemployment, the growth of precarious employment and in-work poverty. This situation should be attributed to an already high intensity of these issues before the crisis. Therefore, one should speak of two problems combined: structural (low labour demand, problems with the educational system and transition to the labour market, skills mismatch) and issues which are crisis-driven (especially the further decline in labour demand and constrained spending on labour market policy). If one takes a look at the ratio of the youth unemployment rate to the adult unemployment rate, the negative trend for youths becomes apparent.
Graph 1: Ratio of youth (15-24) unemployment rate to adult (25-64) unemployment rate, the EU27 countries and Poland, 2001-2011
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The story of Polish youth unemployment up until 2008 differs significantly from the European picture. Poland entered the 21st century with the youth unemployment rate almost two times higher than the European average: in the first quarter of 2000 it reached almost 38%. Between 2002 and 2003 it was almost as high as 44%. After 2004, the unemployment level continuously declined until the end of 2008, when it dropped to17%. Since then the unemployment rate has steadily grown until now. In the fourth quarter of 2011 the unemployment rate equalled 26.4%. Already from this presentation one may see that while the European labour market for youths (expressed by the EU27 averages) was relatively stable with comparatively low levels of youth unemployment, in the Polish context one can see significant changes taking place…
Graph 2: Youth (15-24) unemployment rates, average for the EU27 countries and Poland, 2001-2011