The Lost Generation
An International Labor Organization’s report released today shows that young workers are among the worst-hit by the global recession. All in all, there are 620 million people aged 15 to 24 who want to work. 81 million are unemployed, the highest level and the greatest number since the ILO started keeping track 20 years ago. Globally, the youth unemployment rate hit 13 percent in 2009, up from 12 percent in 2007. The organization expects the youth unemployment rate to continue rising until 2011.
In the report, the ILO warns of “significant consequences for young people as upcoming cohorts of new entrants join the ranks of the already unemployed” and of the “risk of a crisis legacy of a ‘lost generation’ comprised of young people who have dropped out of the labor market, having lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living.”
Despite its relative wealth, the situation remains parlous for young workers in the United States as well. The unemployment rate is 26.5 percent for teenagers, and 15.7 percent for workers aged 20 to 24. The rate rises to a whopping 47.8 percent for black male teenagers, the demographic group with the highest jobless rate. Despite this, across the country, summer jobs programs for young people were slashed, as Congress failed to re-up federal funding provided in the Feb. 2009 stimulus bill.