A stunning 73.4 million young workers are estimated to be jobless in 2013, an increase of 3.5 million between 2007 and 2013, according to an International Labor Organization (ILO) report out today. Even worse, the number of unemployed young workers is likely to increase through 2018, with the long-term impact felt for decades, the report forecasts.

“The youth employment crisis will not be overcome without stronger employment growth,” according to “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013: A Generation at Risk.” But job growth will not happen on its own. The report urges nations to adopt aggressive policies for improving job growth, including strategies targeting employment of disadvantaged youth. Further, nations must invest in education and training, and ensure labor rights are based on international labor standards “to ensure that young people receive equal treatment and are afforded rights at work.”

“Increasing the participation of young people in employers’ and workers’ organizations  and  in  social  dialogue  and  improving  their  awareness  about  young  workers’  rights— including through modules in school curricula—are key instruments for enabling young
people to voice their concerns and for improving the quality of jobs available to them.”

Among the report’s findings:

• Young workers are increasingly employed in non-standard jobs, including temporary employment  and  part-time work. Informal employment accounts for half of young workers in the Russian Federation.

• In 2012,  youth unemployment was  highest in the Middle East (28.3 percent) and North Africa (23.7 percent) and lowest in East Asia (9.5 per cent) and South Asia (9.3 percent).
• Gender gaps in youth unemployment rates are exceptionally large in the Middle East and North Africa.

• In all developing countries surveyed, more young people receive below-average wages than average or above-average wages. This trend is strongest in Cambodia, Liberia, Malawi and Peru, where two-thirds of working young are classified as poorly paid.

• Young people continue to suffer disproportionately from decent work deficits and low-quality jobs, measured in terms of working poverty, low pay and/or employment status
and exposure to occupational hazards and injury.

Underlying the inability of young workers to find jobs, the report finds, is the persistent unavailability of quality, full-time jobs; the proliferation of temporary jobs; a skills mismatch; and the growth of informal, subsistence jobs in developing countries.

Packed with charts and graphs, the 150-page report also includes case studies highlighting best practices for addressing youth unemployment, including Peru’s job action plan and the dual apprenticeship program offered in some European countries.

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