27/08/2008 - On many counts, the youth labour market in Norway is performing very well. The unemployment rate among young people aged 16-24 was 7.3% in 2007, 6 percentage points below the OECD average and the employment rate was almost 12 percentage points above the OECD average.
The incidence of long term unemployment is extremely low amongst young people: 2.5% of the total youth unemployment versus an OECD average of 19.6%. In addition, the earnings of Norwegian youth relative to those of adults (aged 35-44) are among the highest in the OECD: young low educated workers earned more than 60% of the average wage, 20 percentage points above the OECD average. Despite this good performance, there are concerns about the school to work transition in Norway. First, the unemployment rate of young people aged 20 29 with a non-European immigrant background in Norway is over three times that of native young people in the same age group. This is a higher ratio than in most of Europe. Second, six years after leaving school the number of young people receiving health related benefits is almost double that of those who are unemployed or participating in an active labour market programme (ALMP).
The Norwegian government is aware of the need to develop education, labour market and welfare policies that are likely to maximise youth labour market opportunities and incentives to participate in the workforce. Although many sound measures were put in place recently to help improve the school to work transition, several barriers to youth employment remain. The OECD recommends further action, targeting youth at risk of becoming long term welfare beneficiaries. The following measures should be considered:
Jobs for Youth: Norway (Des emplois pour les jeunes : Norvège), is the latest in a series of OECD reports on youth employment policies which now covers sixteen countries. Jobs for Youth: Norway can be purchased in paper or electronic form through the OECD’s Online Bookshop. Subscribers and readers at subscribing institutions can access the online version via SourceOECD. Journalists can obtain a copy from the OECD’s Media Division (tel: + 33 1 45 24 97 00 or mailto: news.contact @ oecd.org).
Table A. Scoreboard for youth aged 16 24,a Norway, Europe and OECD, 1997 and 2007
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Anne Sonnet (anne.sonnet @ oecd.org) or
Vincent Vandenberghe (vincent.vandenberghe @ oecd.org) in the OECD’s Employment Analysis and Policy Division.
Further information is available at www.oecd.org/employment/youth.