BBC World Service

Youth unemployment in Europe at dangerous levels

Tom Burridge Apr 6, 2012

Stacey Vanek Smith: It’s time for the global perspective on business and economics. We will get the much anticipated U.S. unemployment numbers for March a bit later this morning. Many economists are optimistic about that number and see it as the most important gauge of the economic recovery.

The previous three months saw strong job gains, but the situation in Europe is not looking so hopeful. From Madrid, the BBC’s Tom Burridge reports.


Tom Burridge: Unemployment across the 17 countries in the eurozone now stands at just about 11 percent. But not all nations are the same.

Take Austria and the Netherlands — both have jobless rates of under 5 percent. And then there’s the other end of the scale. The names on this list are obvious: Greek unemployment is above 21 percent; and in Spain, almost a full quarter of those looking for a job can’t find one.

Besides regional differences, there are also demographic ones too. The worst affected group by far are the young. The same stat for those under 25 in Spain is 50 percent.

It means 20-somethings like Blanca, who lives in Madrid, feel the only option is to move abroad.

Blanca: I actually see no future here in Spain for us, the young people. The only thing I can think about when I finish my degree in two years is going abroad and finding a job elsewhere.

Greece’s youth unemployment rate is above 50 percent as well. Compare that to the U.S., where youth unemployment stands at 24 percent of those aged 16 to 19.

But if you’re young and looking for a job in Europe, think about moving to Germany. Their youth unemployment rate is the lowest, at only 8 percent.

In Madrid, I’m the BBC’s Tom Burridge for Marketplace.

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