Unemployment Crisis Grips Millennials Worldwide
The International Labour Organisation recently brought attention to a major global problem: unemployment among young people. According to a report at Economist.com, the global unemployment rate has risen among 15- to 24-year-olds in 2016 to 13.1 percent, which is near the peak that it reached in 2013. In Arab countries, the unemployment rate for this group is the highest at 30.6 percent while the rate is lowest in East Asia at 10.7 percent. Even those younger people who have managed to find jobs often fail to earn reasonable incomes because they’ve accepted temporary or low-paid jobs. The jobless rate for the latest generation entering the workforce–mostly millennials–is more than twice as high as the rate for adults aged from 25 to 54.
The situation has become so desperate that 40 percent of 15- to 29-year-olds in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe are willing to relocate abroad just to land jobs. About 25 percent of young workers in 2015 were in temporary jobs, and 26 percent worked only part-time. The difficulties in finding employment are even more challenging in countries where the economy is performing poorly such as Romania, Spain and Greece.
Employment Figures Fail to Highlight the Millennial Unemployment Crisis
Politicians and economists tend to highlight the smallest successes after the depredations of the economic crisis of 2008. Stock prices are in a bubble–remaining overvalued–that defies traditional economic analyses, but other economic indicators remain troubling. That’s why jobs for young people are still in severe recession 8 years after the global financial meltdown. According to a report at Usnews.com, some of these negative economic indicators include:
- Flat inflation rates and deflation in many global economies
- Unnaturally low interest rates and even negative interest rates where governments pay borrowers to invest in their bonds
- Growth rates that still lag behind 2007’s 5.1 percent
- Economic downturns in China, which was previously a bastion of global growth
- Artificially low oil prices due to the price war between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. shale industry
- Low corporate earnings that are often made possible only by streamlining operations
- Plummeting bank stocks
- Uncertainties generated by Brexit
Oddly enough, emerging markets are holding up global growth rates. Investors earned $735 billion from these markets in 2015. These markets include Turkey, Russia, Brazil and South Africa. The IMF has warned that this spillback effect could damage the economies of advanced countries. If the economy stays this way or worsens, 40 percent–or more–of young people won’t be able to find jobs. Historically, young people have never faced such grim prospects of finding any kind of job, and it’s even more challenging to find fulfilling, highly paid positions.
Economic Indicators for Millennials Look Grim for the Next Decade
About one-third of the world’s 1.8 billion young people are currently unemployed according to an Ibtimes.com report. Global unemployment for youth is currently at 13.1 percent as compared to an adult rate of 4.5 percent. The global recession, sluggish recovery and increased number of people in the age bracket 15-29 who are looking for work–about 1 billion over the next decade–create an untenable position for millennials. The phenomenon holds across developed and emerging markets, and the problem of millennial unemployment in the United States hasn’t lessened despite a relatively healthy economy. Bls.gov reports that only 53.2 percent of young people were employed in July, which is unchanged from a year ago, and unemployment rose by 611,000 between April and July of 2016.
New Political Attitudes and Creative Strategies Are Needed to Create Jobs for Youth
Crippling regulations are targeting the new economy that’s made possible by creativity and global communications, but politicians of both parties have failed to address the issue according to a report posted on Thehill.com. Instead, bureaucrats have tried to stifle ridesharing in New York and home-sharing services–such as Airbnb–in San Francisco. About 28 percent of millennials don’t have full-time jobs, so many are forced to live with their parents and apply creative solutions like these to survive. Most educated millennials struggle to make their student loan payments instead of getting married or buying a car or home.
Similar scenarios apply in all the developed countries, and emerging countries face even greater unemployment rates. Millennials comprise a powerful voting block that most politicians have ignored because of the perception that this constituency doesn’t vote in high percentages or as a group. However, that could quickly change in an environment where the ongoing recession threatens quality-of-life and personal fulfillment. In the United States, there are about 73.5 million millennials, which is about one-third of eligible voters and more people than the combined populations of Texas and California. Energized and committed to vote for leaders who bring solutions to the problems of millennial unemployment, this political force could become formidable across the globe. Find out more about millennial unemployment and potential millennial political power at