16/09/2010 - The unemployment rate in OECD countries has peaked but still stood at 8.5% in July 2010, according to the latest OECD estimates. But the situation is worse for young people: in the two years to the second quarter of 2010, the joblessness rate for young people increased by almost 40%. In Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Slovak Republic, Spain and Sweden, youth unemployment currently exceeds 25%.
The outlook for 2011 remains gloomy, staying at around 20% on average in the OECD area. To discuss the most effective ways to help young people through this crisis, government ministers, policy makers, decision makers, social workers, researchers, and representatives from the social partners, from NGOs and from youth associations will meet at a High-Level Forum – Jobs for Youth - in Oslo on 20-21 September.
Journalists are invited to attend the first day of the event – to register, please contact Spencer Wilson (tel. + 33 1 45 24 81 18).
Among the participants will be: Joëlle Milquet, Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Employment and Equal Opportunities for Belgium; Inger Stojberg, Minister of Employment for Denmark; Hanne Bjurstrøm, Minister of Labour for Norway; and Kristin Halvorsen, Minister of Education for Norway.
The full agenda is available here.
The OECD will also release a report on youth unemployment in early December. This will include details of the measures taken by OECD governments to tackle youth unemployment since the start of the crisis and analysis of the most effective policies.
The latest OECD research says that in the short term, a priority must be to provide income support to unemployed young people. In two-thirds of OECD countries school-leavers are not eligible for unemployment benefits unless they have worked a certain period of time (from four months in France to one year more generally).
Another promising avenue is apprenticeship contracts for low-skilled young people. These could pay a “double dividend”: securing the transition towards employment and lowering labour costs compensated by a training commitment from the employer. Governments could provide subsidies to promote apprenticeships and help apprentices made redundant to complete their training.
Young people are also much more likely to be on temporary contracts than older workers. And while for many these contracts are stepping stones into permanent jobs, for others they tend to be dead ends. Reducing the gap between regulations for temporary and permanent contracts would help, together with lowering the cost of employing low-skilled youth in their first job.