In a climate of renewed concerns about global economic growth,
youth unemployment is on the rise after several years of improvement…
Global economic growth in 2016 is estimated to stand at 3.2 per cent, 0.4 percentage points lower than the gure predicted in late 2015. The downward revision is a result of recessions that were deeper than expected in some key emerging commodity-exporting countries, including Argentina, Brazil and the Russian Federation. In addition, growth in developing countries, at only 4.2 per cent in 2016, is at its lowest level since 2003. Despite anticipation of a slight improvement in global growth for 2017, global investment and hiring decisions remain subdued in the face of the uncertainty generated by a rapidly changing environment.
Consequently, the global youth unemployment rate is on the rise after a number of years of improve- ment, and is expected to reach 13.1 per cent in 2016 (from 12.9 in 2015). This is very close to its historic peak in 2013 (at 13.2 per cent) and where it is expected to remain in 2017. As a result, after falling by some 3 million between 2012 and 2015, the number of unemployed youth globally will rise by half a million in 2016 to reach 71 million and will remain at this level in 2017.
The deterioration is particularly marked in emerging countries where the unemployment rate is pre- dicted to rise from 13.3 per cent in 2015 to 13.7 per cent in 2017 (a gure which corresponds to 53.5 million unemployed in 2017, compared to 52.9 million in 2015). The youth unemployment rate in developing countries is expected to remain relatively stable, at around 9.5 per cent in 2016, but in terms of absolute numbers it should increase by around 0.2 million in 2016 to reach 7.9 million unemployed youth in 2017, largely due to an expanding labour force. Finally, in developed countries, the unemployment rate among youth is anticipated to be the highest globally in 2016 (14.5 per cent or 9.8 million) and although the rate is expected to decline in 2017, the pace of improvement will slow (falling only to 14.3 per cent in 2017).
…and job quality, especially in emerging and developing countries, remains a major concern for youth…
Unemployment gures understate the true extent of youth labour market challenges since large num- bers of young people are working, but do not earn enough to lift themselves out of poverty. In fact, roughly 156 million youth in emerging and developing countries live in extreme poverty (i.e. on less than US$1.90 per capita per day) or in moderate poverty (i.e. on between US$1.90 and US$3.10) despite being in employment. Moreover, youth exhibit a higher incidence of working poverty than adults: 37.7 per cent of working youth are living in extreme or moderate poverty in 2016, compared to 26 per cent of working adults.
Meanwhile, in developed countries with available information, youth are more at risk of relative poverty (de ned here as living on less than 60 per cent of median income) despite having a job. For example, the share of employed youth categorized as being at risk of poverty was 12.9 per cent in the EU-28 in 2014, compared to 9.6 per cent of working adults, i.e. aged 25–54. In addition to low pay, young people frequently work involuntarily in informal, part-time or temporary jobs. For example, in the EU-28, among youth employed in part-time or temporary positions in 2014, approximately 29 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, are doing so involuntarily.
…leading to an increased willingness to migrate.
Facing the prospect of unemployment, working poverty and/or vulnerable forms of employment, young people tend to look abroad for better education and employment opportunities. In 2015, almost 51 mil- lion international migrants were aged between of 15 and 29, more than half of whom resided in developed economies. Additionally, in 2015, 20 per cent of the global youth population in this age range were willing to move permanently to another country. At the regional level, the willingness to migrate among youth is highest in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, at 38 per cent in 2015, followed closely by Eastern Europe at 37 per cent. The percentage of young people willing to move remains high, at 35 per cent, in Northern Africa, as well as in the Arab States where this rate grew from 21 per cent in 2009 to 28 per cent in 2015. The lowest average inclinations to move are instead found in Southern Asia and Northern America where only 17 per cent and 15 per cent of youth respectively are willing to leave their country (data for Northern America refer to 2014). Within each region, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Northern, Southern and Western Europe, cross-country differences remain sizable, with youth in poorer countries typically showing the highest propensity to migrate.