A Closer Look

Spain / Only 22% of 16-24 year olds are unemployed writes Carmen González Enríquez, not 55%

A common notion circulating inside and outside Spain is that over half of young Spaniards (aged 16-24) are unemployed –a ‘fact’ which furthers the image of deep crisis in Spain. The world’s most prestigious media report on such youth unemployment with alarm, contributing to this new ‘Black Legend’ of Spanish failure. The truth, however, is that only 22% of 16-24 year olds are unemployed. That is just over a fifth, while the vast majority are studying or working.

So where does this figure of 50% come from? From Eurostat, the European statistics agency. It uses two measures of youth unemployment: one is calculated on the basis of all young people (this so-called unemployment ‘ratio’ gives the 22% figure) and the other on the basis of those in the labour force, ie, actively employed or seeking employment. It is the second formula (or unemployment ‘rate’) which puts Spanish youth unemployment at 55%. This formula makes sense among adults, especially men, practically all of whom are likely to work or seek work until retirement age. But applying it to an age group where most people are still in education or training distorts its meaning, even if it sheds some light on the subject. The problem is that Eurostat only publicises the second figure and not the first.

Capture d’écran 2013-05-24 à 08.21.14

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor

Capture d’écran 2013-05-24 à 08.22.32

via Dispelling The Myth: Youth Unemployment In Spain – Analysis Eurasia Review.

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