Europe’s “youth unemployment crisis” is “truly terrifying,” writes Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. Overall, EU unemployment is 12.2 percent, but it’s twice that for would-be workers under 25. Youth unemployment is 56 percent in Spain and 62.5 percent in Greece. “We’ve never seen a generation this educated also be this unemployed,” Thompson observes. Nearly 40 percent of young people in Spain and 30 percent in Greece are college educated.
The less scary “youth unemployment ratio” — the share of young job seekers divided by the entire population — is 9.7 percent in the EU. That doesn’t count the young people who’ve given up looking for work, writes Thompson. There are 26 million young”NEETS” (Not Employed, or in Education, or Training) in developed countries, according to the OECD.
The youth unemployment rate in the U.S. was 16 percent in late 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More young Americans (14.8 percent) than young Europeans (13.2 percent) were NEETs in 2011, the last time the OECD issued an estimate. In Italy, 19.5 percent of young people were out of work, out of school and out of luck in 2011, even higher than the numbers in Greece and Spain.
More than one in seven young Americans are “disconnected” from work and from school, according to the Social Science Research Council‘s Measure of America report. Almost 15 percent of Americans aged 16 to 24 are heading nowhere.
Globally, the U.S. has a higher rate of youth disconnection than many advanced nations, including the United Kingdom (13.4 percent), Austria (11.4 percent), Canada (10.5 percent), Germany (9.5 percent), Norway (9.2 percent), Finland (8.6 percent), Switzerland (6.8 percent), Denmark (5.7 percent), and the Netherlands (4.1 percent).
While 22.5 percent of young African-Americans and 18.5 percent of Latinos are disconnected, the number drops to 11.7 percent for whites, and just 8 percent for Asian-Americans.
“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that,” said President Obama at a campaign stop in Virginia. “Somebody else made that happen.”
Young people think they’ll be the authors of their own success, according to the Horatio Alger Association’s 2012-2013 State of Our Nation’s Youth survey: 96 percent of high school students and graduates agree that their own actions, rather than luck, shape their ability to succeed. Most expect to work in the private sector and/or be self-employed.
Those surveyed, ages 14 to 23, were not much interested in presidential politics. Only 57 percent of high school students said they cared who wins the election, down from 75 percent in 2008. Graduates and students were much more concerned about the economy and jobs compared to 2008. That’s not surprising: 39 percent of high school students and 28 percent of graduates not in college can’t find work.
48 percent of high school students get news online. Just 15 percent read printed news.
63 percent of high school students are taking college preparatory classes, but 24 percent of recent grads who took college prep needed remedial education classes to meet college requirements.
37 percent of high school students reported receiving mostly A’s, up from 25 percent in 2008.
97 percent of students aspire to further education after high school, up from 93 percent in 2008.
Despite everything, 60 percent of high school students are hopeful about the country’s future compared to 53 percent in 2008.