Job prospects for the youth of the world are getting bleak as some 71 million are unemployed in 2016, and the figure is an increase of 500,000 more than the figure for 2015, a new International Labour Organisation report, the World Employment and Social Outlook 2016 – Trends for Youth has said.
“The prospects are particularly worrying for youth, who are expected to see their unemployment rate reach 13.1 per cent in 2016 (up from 12.9 per cent in 2015) after the moderate signs of improvement registered between 2013 and 2015” the ILO said, adding that “This translates into an estimated 71 million unemployed youth worldwide in 2016 – half a million more than the previous year.”
The report indicates that altogether, available estimates suggest that, in 2016, over 40 per cent of the world’s active youth population is expected to be either unemployed or living in poverty despite being employed.
“Given this situation, the current outlook presents a number of challenges to achieving the SDGs, highlighting the need to gain a clear picture of youth labour market conditions and prospects across a range of dimensions,” it said.
The report citing global economic growth, which in 2016 is estimated to stand at 3.2 per cent, 0.4 percentage points lower
than the figure predicted in late 2015.
“The downward revision is a result of recessions that were deeper than expected in some key emerging commodity-exporting countries, including Argentina, Brazil and the Russian Federation. In addition, growth in developing countries, at only 4.2 per cent in 2016, is at its lowest level since 2003. Despite anticipation of a slight improvement in global growth for 2017, global investment and hiring decisions remain subdued in the face of the uncertainty generated by a rapidly changing environment,” it noted, adding that, “Consequently, the global youth unemployment rate is on the rise after a number of years of improvement, and is expected to reach 13.1 per cent in 2016 (from 12.9 in 2015). This is very close to its historic peak in 2013 (at 13.2 per cent) and where it is expected to remain in 2017. As a result, after falling by some 3 million between 2012 and 2015, the number of unemployed youth globally will rise by half a million in 2016 to reach 71 million and will remain at this level in 2017.”
Comparing the rate of unemployment in emerging and developing countries, the report points out that the fact that youth unemployment rates in emerging and developing countries are lower than the corresponding rates in developed countries does not reflect more favourable labour market conditions in those regions; instead, it indicates that young people in these countries must often work, typically in poor-quality and low-paid jobs, in order to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and their families.
“This issue is particularly acute in developing countries, where almost three-quarters of all employed youth (close to 54 million in 2017) are living below the moderate poverty threshold of $3.10 per day. The number of young people in working poverty is even expected to increase in these countries, mainly as a result of the growing numbers of youth in working poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The fundamental challenge in emerging and developing countries therefore remains to improve the quality of work available for the majority of young people who are already working but are under-employed or engaged in informal jobs,” it said.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi