January 24, 2022

Germany Works to Curb European Youth Unemployment

Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, and Vítor Gaspar, his counterpart in Portugal, announced a plan on Wednesday to use the German state development bank to help set up a financial institution to assist Portuguese under age 25 in getting jobs or job training.

This week, Ursula von der Leyen, the German labor minister, signed an agreement with her Spanish counterpart, Fátima Báñez García, that foresees bringing thousands of young Spaniards to Germany for apprenticeships. At the same time, Germany will seek to help Spain build a dual-track vocational system in which young people earn qualifications through a combination of work and study.

The initiatives are part of a multipronged effort by Berlin to quickly get more young people into the work force, a move that experts say is crucial if a unified Europe is to survive into the next generation. “What is decisive is that we must be faster and more definitive in fighting youth unemployment,” Mr. Schäuble said.

More than 5.6 million people under 25 are without work across the union, according to figures released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Among the countries with the largest number of young people out of work are the weaker members of the euro zone that are undergoing deep cuts to social services and other structural changes, part of efforts to recover from the debt crisis.

Germany grappled with its own youth unemployment problem early last decade. While its numbers then were nowhere near the 60 percent of young people now out of work in Greece, or the nearly 56 percent in Spain, German leaders said their experience could be of value to their European partners.

Next week, German and French officials plan to draw up a bilateral agreement on employment when they meet alongside European business leaders at a conference in Paris. On July 3, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany will gather labor ministers and the heads of 27 European Union labor agencies in Berlin for a meeting to further discuss the problem.

Details of the German-French proposal remain vague, but Mr. Schäuble insisted that financing would not be an issue.

He cited the 6 billion euros, or $7.8 billion, that the European Union has earmarked in its new budget for addressing the problem, as well as additional money that was given to the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg intended for loans to small and midsize businesses, which would help create more jobs.

“We are working to use the existing funds more efficiently,” Mr. Schäuble said in Berlin.

Unemployment in the early stages of a person’s career damages the ability to integrate into society, or, in the case of the union, to later support the idea of more integration on the Continent, said Joachim Möller, director of the Institute for Employment Research in Nuremberg. “The long-term effects reach far beyond the working world,” he added. “It could be catastrophic for their idea of Europe.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/business/global/germany-works-to-curb-eu-youth-unemployment.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

WORLD: France’s Floating Generation

As youth unemployment hits 22 percent, many young people cannot find jobs that get them on the path to being taxpaying, property-owning adults.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/video/2012/12/02/world/europe/100000001934519/the-floating-generation.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Economix Blog: Young and Jobless

CATHERINE RAMPELL

CATHERINE RAMPELL

Dollars to doughnuts.

Since 1948, the Labor Department has been keeping track of how many young people find jobs during the summer, when employment of 16-to-24-year-olds typically peaks. Last month, the share of young people who were employed was just 48.8 percent, the lowest July rate on record.

DESCRIPTIONSource: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The youth unemployment rate fell by 1 percentage point over the last year, to 18.1 percent in July 2011 after having hit a record high the year before. But that decline is largely due to having fewer young people look for work.

The labor force participation rate for all young people — that is, the proportion of the population 16 to 24 years old either working or looking for work — was 59.5 percent last month, also the lowest July rate on record.

One takeaway: Youth unemployment is high, but it doesn’t tell the whole story since it leaves out a lot of people who have given up looking for work. Some of those who have dropped out of the labor force (or never entered) are in school, which is good for their careers, and the economy, in the long run. But many aren’t.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=5f03e243e13b86333d01f9a88d71d69b

As Hard Times Bite, Drug Trade Flourishes in Spanish Port

BARBATE, SPAIN — In the police station of Barbate, a port town in the southern region of Andalusia, officers have pinned a poster to the wall that reads “they owe us April,” referring to the late payment of their salaries.

At the same time, they are having to combat a pickup in illegal drugs trafficking — another consequence, some say, of the tough economic times.

“It’s a disastrous and chaotic situation here,” said Rafael Romero, one of the officers. “We need more boats, vehicles and everything, but there’s not even money to repair two broken surveillance cameras.”

Barbate, in fact, has found itself caught in a perfect storm: a fiscal crisis that has sunk public finances, a dwindling fishing industry that has exacerbated one of Spain’s worst unemployment situations, and a revival of the drug smuggling that has long plagued this area because of its proximity to North Africa. Powerful rubber boats need only about 40 minutes to cross over, loaded mainly with hashish from Morocco.

The mayor of Barbate, Rafael Quirós, garnered national attention during his recent re-election campaign by suggesting that a young person who could not find a job and turned to drug dealing should not automatically be called a delinquent. “A youngster has absolutely zero chance right now of finding a fixed job here,” he said during an interview in the Town Hall. “The politicians in Madrid who consider my views on youngsters occasionally dealing drugs to be those of a caveman either don’t understand or don’t care about how much people are struggling here.”

Responding by e-mail to questions about the mayor’s views, the Spanish Labor Ministry said it was deeply concerned about the level of youth unemployment, but that “we cannot start to give value to individual opinions that do not add anything constructive.”

Mr. Quirós said that the drug activity had revived in the area since the start of the crisis, although it remained below what it was a decade ago.

Then, “there was just complete impunity here,” he said. “You can nowadays get sentenced to five years in jail, so it does make some people think twice, however desperate their economic situation.” Still, around 300 of Barbate’s 22,000 inhabitants are now sitting in jail because of drug trafficking, according to Mr. Quirós. Five years ago, before the onset of the financial crisis, there were about 160 in jail on drug cases.

Andalusia has the highest unemployment rate among Spain’s 17 regions, 29.7 percent at the end of the first quarter, according to the National Institute of Statistics. That compares with a national jobless rate of 21 percent, double the European Union average.

Barbate itself ranked as the town with the second-highest joblessness in mainland Spain at the end of 2010, behind Ubrique, which is also in the Andalusian province of Cádiz, according to a separate study published this month by the savings bank Caja España-Caja Duero.

To help create jobs, Mr. Quirós is trying to develop alternatives to fishing, an ancestral occupation that has fallen about 80 percent over the past 20 years amid stricter quotas, intense competition from foreign boats and a recent decline in domestic fish consumption.

A light bulb factory is due to open later this year, employing about 200 people, as well as a fish farm with a work force of 270. A few hotel projects are also earmarked, but “this isn’t exactly the easiest time to find investors,” the mayor said. Fishing still represents about 60 percent of the local economy.

Despite the national criticism over his remarks, Mr. Quirós’s seems to have struck a chord with voters. On May 22, he was one of the few Socialist mayors of Andalusia to win re-election, in what proved to be an unprecedented debacle for his party in regional and municipal elections across Spain.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=ec2f4e9e1ffda67df6600ad845e6565f

Economix: Dimming Optimism for Today’s Youth

Maybe it has to do with sky-high levels of youth unemployment. Maybe it’s because student loan levels are climbing. Maybe it’s because today’s young’uns will someday be stuck supporting so many of their elders.

Whatever the reason, for the first time on record, most Americans said they did not believe today’s young would have better lives than their parents, according to new survey data from Gallup. In an April poll, only 44 percent expressed that view.

DESCRIPTIONSources: Gallup, CBS News, New York Times and Roper Organization

Several polling organizations — including The New York Times — have been asking the question intermittently since 1983. The specific wording is: “In America, each generation has tried to have a better life than their parents, with a better living standard, better homes, a better education, and so on. How likely do you think it is that today’s youth will have a better life than their parents — very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely?”

The measure peaked in December 2001 at 71 percent, shortly after the terrorist attacks.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=1f1b644ee2d32b2ae34efeac41347159