Breaking all the wrong records. Italian youth unemployment hits a ridiculous 44.2%

Only two other “fixed” European countries have higher youth unemployment than Italy. Greece at 53.2% and Spain at 49.2%.

italy unemployment

Via Business Insider…

Italian unemployment overall is higher than eurozone unemployment, at 12.7% — the figure for the whole bloc is 11.1%.

The eurozone’s youth unemployment, at 22.5%, is about twice as high as the overall level. In Italy’s case it’s nearly 3.5 times higher than the headline rate, suggesting a pretty brutal future for the country’s young people — and that something is seriously wrong with the labour market.

But youth unemployment levels have very clearly separated from one another  — Italy’s was always higher, but more than 20 percentage points separate the two now. So what’s going on with Italy’s young people?

A recent publication by Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) suggests at least three potential causes:

  • The sort of contracts young people work with: Part of the problem is the country’s dual labour market, something that’s not unique to Italy. Young workers tend to get temporary contracts and veteran company insiders get the more rigid, long-term deals. When it’s time to let some workers go (in a recession), you can guess who’s first out of the door.
  • Some go to university instead of working. More young people often choose higher education during a recession, as an alternative to a touch jobs market. As the CEPR article says “the decline in the participation rate of the young mechanically increases the measured youth unemployment rate.”
  • Young Italians have struggled to get into work at the best of times. As the chart below shows, even during 2002-2010, a period in which the eurozone was generally growing, Italy stood out with the highest NEET (not in employment, education or training) level in the EU. It’s followed closely by Greece and Spain.

All in all, Italy’s young people are in a pretty bad place.

screen shot 2015-07-31 at 4.22.16 pmReferences:

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