Though the world economy is still stalled, there have been two definite classes that have borne the brunt of the Great Recession: young people and people living in the austerity-stricken southern European countries. In countries like Greece for example, interpersonal violence and the suicide rate have spiked since the debt crisis started. In America, economists have argued that the generation coming of age in the recession will forever have lower lifetime earnings than those who are just a bit older than them.
Unfortunately, people living in both categories — southern European and youth — are having an especially difficult time. According to new numbers from Reuters (via the Atlantic), the unemployment rates in Greece and Spain for people under the age of 25 are approaching 50%. That’s shocking. For every young adult trying to make it in the job market, there’s another who can’t find a job or a livelihood. Things aren’t much better in other countries with debt problems: Italy, Portugal and Ireland all have youth unemployment rates around 30%.
What’s most shocking is comparing that to the overall unemployment rate in those countries. In Greece, the total unemployment rate is 18.3% and in Spain it’s 22.8%, each less than half the youth unemployment rate — but still disastrous. In countries that are already struggling to that extent, young people don’t even have a chance.
The worst part of this story is that the international community is preventing those countries from helping their jobless youth. Because Greece had to accept austerity measures as part of its rescue package, there’s no safety net for these young people who have little experience or savings to fall back on. These statistics show starkly what the European 99% looks like — young, unemployed and desperate.
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