Youth unemployment rates in the eurozone and the EU are now 24 per cent. Young people have a higher propensity for civil unrest than older people. The big surprise actually is that the young have been so compliant. It is surprising that social disorder has not occurred on a much greater scale than it has to this point given the harshness of austerity in so many countries.
The fear is that the riots in Sweden could pop up in other parts of Europe. Everyone remembers how the riots spread like wildfire across the UK in 2011. The French, German and Italian governments have launched initiatives to help the young but they will take some time to have an effect.
Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, warned that unless Europe tackled youth employment, it “will lose the battle for Europe’s unity”. Panic has set in. After all , riots do tend to grab politicians’ attention.
But things have been changing. Inequality is on the rise. Indeed, between 1985 and 2010, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Sweden saw the biggest growth in inequality of all the 31 most-industrialised countries.
The chart above presents for 16 advanced countries the ratio of unemployment rates of those aged 25 and under to those aged over 25. It also shows the youth-unemployment rate. The chart is ordered according to the youth-to-adult unemployment ratio with the youth unemployment rate in parentheses.
As can be seen from the chart, youth unemployment in Sweden is pretty high, approaching 25 per cent, although well below the levels seen in Greece (63 per cent), Spain (56 per cent) Portugal and Italy (38 per cent). It is also higher than the rate in the UK (20 per cent). Sweden has also seen a significant rise in long-term youth joblessness. Rates tend to be even higher than this in most countries for the least-educated, minorities and immigrants. According to the Office for National Statistics Annual Population Survey, age 16-24 unemployment rates in London in 2012 were 19 per cent for whites, 24 per cent for Indians, 44 per cent for Pakistanis, 38 per cent for Bangladeshis and 44 per cent for Black/African/Caribbeans. In the light of recent events in the capital these numbers are troubling.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor
The unrest has provoked intense soul-searching in a country that prides itself for both its generous welfare state and open immigration policy. Sweden accepted 44,000 asylum-seekers in 2012, up by nearly a half from a year earlier. Among industrial countries, it has the second-largest amount of asylum-seekers relative to its population, according to U.N. figures. … Continue reading »