Posts Tagged ‘irish youth unemployment’

I’ve been keeping an eye on youth unemployment for a while – which, naturally, has nothing to do with being an unemployed youth.

Anyway, a paper was recently released by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that makes some rather ominous proclamations. The papers sets out to study unemployment among college graduates – and the results are shocking. A picture says 1,000 words – so just look at this graph:

Urgh! That doesn’t look good does it? I mean not only does the US not have as serious a problem with youth unemployment as Ireland and Britain, but it is also the place where many aspiring Irish immigrants try to go. Mike Konczal over at New Deal 2.0 sums up the situation nicely:

This is a cohort with mobility, fresh degrees, low health care costs, low wage rigidity, etc. etc. I don’t shine the flashlight here to ignore the pain that those without college degrees experience in this economy. But if young people with college degrees can’t survive in the post-recession era, nobody can.

And it gets worse. These stats don’t even take into account the prospect that our college whiz kids might end up not being registered as unemployed because they’ve got themselves a job flipping burgers and are hanging around drinking low-cost beer in their parents living-rooms at the weekends:

As an Economic Policy Institute briefing paper points out, the unemployment rates might “underestimate the severity of the labor market problem for young college graduates because they do not indicate whether they are employed in a job that matches their skill level.” That can mean lower wages and a more arduous upward mobility path.

Irish governments claim that all we need to do is educate the yoof and we’ll be flying. But if the US – which has a stronger economy, hasn’t suffered as bad a crisis and has a better third-level education system – can’t learn itself to prosperity there seems little hope that we can either.

These figures shouldn’t shock anyone that lives in this country. Everywhere you look there’s young people unemployed. Everyone knows a few people with college degrees that are scrounging around on the dole.

I’ve said it before. The world has changed since our parents’ generation packed-up and moved abroad with their college degrees – emigration is no longer a fix-all.

We have to sort this country out… we simply don’t have a choice. And yet still, the new government isn’t making unemployment their key issue. Sure, they SAY they are. But actions speak louder than words and the present government is planning to cut jobs left, right and center to please our European overlords.

The coffin ship – transport to nowhere… coming to a port near you, if the new government doesn’t sort its priorities out.


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Our veins are thin
Our rivers poisoned
We want the sweet meat
We want the young blood

Some time ago I did a rather bleak piece on the employment prospects for the Irish kiddies of my generation. There I argued that these kiddies’ plans – that is, to emigrate – might be more complicated and difficult than they think. Why? Because English speaking countries across the world are, like Ireland, experiencing high-levels of youth unemployment.

So, since I wrote this have things got better? Well, no – au contraire. Today The Guardian reports that youth unemployment in the UK is rising to extremely high levels.

The total number of adults under 25 who are out of work moved close to the 1 million mark in the three months to November, rising by 32,000 to 951,000. This pushed the youth unemployment rate up to 20.3%, which is also the highest level since records began in 1992.

The Guardian points out that this is despite the supposed ‘recovery from recession‘ that has taken place in Britain.

These figures are, of course, extremely important for Irish yoof – as the Brits are not only our immediate competitors for English-speaking jobs in Euroland, but also because, for many, Britain is the first choice of country to migrate to. Now, if the youth unemployment rate really is rising in Britain, doesn’t that mean that it will be harder for Irish peeps to find gainful employment there?

The problem of youth unemployment is one that is (still) reaching across the Anglo-Saxon world. And yet at the very same time, governments – the Irish government included – are raising the retirement age.

Think about that for a moment. Young people can’t get jobs – presumably because the available jobs are occupied by older people – and governments are forcing these older people to stay in these jobs for longer. Is this madness? I should think so.

How on earth can these governments see it as a good idea to raise the retirement age, when young people can’t find jobs? I’ll tell you why: because these governments are incompetent ideologues, who cling to the idea that cuts and austerity are they way forward – even as these policies continue daily to sink us ever further into the Dark Ages.

In fact there are far better ways to keep unemployment down – youth unemployment included – while we try to increase the number of jobs.

First of all – and most obviously – DON’T RAISE THE GODDAMN RETIREMENT AGE; thems jobs should be ours…

Secondly, we could try a job-sharing program – as has been implemented in Germany. Note that, despite major loses to GDP, the Germans have managed to keep unemployment at a cool 6.7%.

So, why won’t our governments – and those of Anglo-Saxon neighbours – pursue such policies? Simple: ideology. As Dean Baker points out, pundits are inherently against these ideas – but not for any rational reasons; no, they’re against these ideas because their heads are filled with ideological sludge. They still think ‘austerity’ programs are going to lead to economic expansion – and that this expansion will lead to a decline in unemployment.

But austerity programs won’t lead to a decrease in unemployment – and the recent evidence attests to this. As the public sector sheds jobs, general unemployment will increase – and with it youth unemployment.

All this seems so obvious. But our beloved leaders simply don’t want to recognise it, because it rankles with their distorted view of the world – a view that has led to this current recession-cum-depression-cum-unemploymentfest.

As the old are forced to work the jobs that should be going to the young for longer, the fossils that are currently in government and writing eco-nonsense in various newspapers themselves look far past their retirement date. And perhaps that’s ultimately what these policies are about – to keep these failures employed long past their sell-by-date. All I can say is: if you choose to vote for any of the parties currently pushing for austerity, you’re voting to keep yourself and your peers in the dole queue.

UPDATE: Global youth unemployment levels reaching ‘dangerous levels’.

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