MENA youth struggle for jobs

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MENA youth to struggle for jobs
Students at the Lebanese American University in Beirut attending a conference by World Youth Alliance. A new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) has painted a bleak unemployment outlook for MENA youth over the next five years. Photo-WYA

A new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) has painted a bleak outlook of unemployment for youth of the MENA region, with about a third of the youths expected to be jobless in five years.

However, global youth unemployment was also likely to increase over the same period, as the world economy struggles to recover from the financial crisis. By 2018, the global youth jobless rate is expected to increase from 12.4 percent to 12.8 percent . However, Middle East unemployment levels are forecast to surge from 28.3 percent to 30 percent during the same period. In recent months, joblessness has increased in Egypt, Tunisia and other Middle East countries affected by the Arab Spring.

According to Sara Elder, co-author of the report and research specialist for the ILO Youth Employment Program, “the waste of economic potential in developing economies is staggering. For an overwhelming number of young people this means a job does not necessarily equal a livelihood.” The situation is expected to worsen as a large number of youth complete their education and join the labor market.

The ILO has reported that about 29.9 percent and 38.8 percent of young people were jobless in Jordan and Palestinian territory, respectively. The number of youth out of work in Saudi Arabia was 28.3 percent, while 23 percent of youths were struggling to find jobs in Iran.

In North Africa, the jobless rate would climb slightly from 23.7 percent to 24 percent over these five years. The unemployment rate among women in North Africa was 37 percent, much higher than the 18.3 percent rate for men. The lower rate of youth joblessness in North Africa can be attributed to a fall in the number of youth in the total population. Unfortunately, the chances of finding employment after completion of tertiary education were much lower than in developed economies.

See this video in which Sara Elder and Theodore Sparreboom, ILO Senior Labour Economists, explains key findings from the report.

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Sara Elder and Theodore Sparreboom will hold a Twitter question-and-answer session on the report’s findings on Friday May 10th from 14:00-15:00 GMT. To participate, tweet to @ILONews, #GETYouth.

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