Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wasting youth

This is so precious.  A generation of people has had their hopes dashed and their lives consigned to irrelevance.  But you know, the tragedy isn't real until someone attaches a number to it—it doesn't matter how superficial they might be.  Even so, 153 Billion Euros is a very large number, no matter how much has been left out.

Europe's lost generation costs €153bn a year, study finds

EU agency estimates cost in state welfare and lost production of young adults not in employment, education or training
The Guardian, 21 October 2012

A lost generation of 14 million out-of-work and disengaged young Europeans is costing member states a total of €153bn (£124bn) a year – 1.2% of the EU's gross domestic product – the largest study of the young unemployed has concluded.

The report, by the EU's own research agency, Eurofound, has discovered that Europeans aged 15 to 29 who are not in employment, education or training (known as Neets) have reached record levels and are costing the EU €3bn a week in state welfare and lost production.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said Europe was "failing in its social contract" with the young and rising political disenchantment could reach levels similar to those that sparked North African uprisings during the Arab spring.

The research, which will be presented at a high-level EU presidency employment meeting in Cyprus on Monday, backs such fears: a survey of EU Neets included in the report found much lower levels of political engagement and trust compared with those in work.

"The consequences of a lost generation are not merely economic," the report warns, "but are societal, with the risk of young people opting out of democratic participation in society."

The number of young adults in work across 26 member states is the lowest on record, the report's authors found. Those in employment were working fewer hours and in less secure jobs. Last year 42% of young working Europeans were in temporary employment, up from just over a third a decade ago. A total of 30%, or 5.8 million young adults, were in part-time employment – an increase since 2001 of nearly nine percentage points.

Since the global downturn in 2008, there has been a 28% increase in associated Neet costs across the EU, with Italy facing an annual bill of €32.6bn a year, France €22bn, and the UK €18bn. At the start of this month the International Labour Organisation reported that worldwide, young people were three times more likely to be unemployed than adultsand urged the G20 to look for "new approaches".

The new EU report calculates that as a proportion of annual national output, Ireland is estimated to have lost 2.8% of its GDP to inactive young adults in 2011, while Greece lost 3.28% and Poland 2.04%.

The UK, the report concludes, lost 1% of GDP to an inability to engage potential young workers – a figure that contrasts with 2011 growth of 0.8%.

The report's authors warn that the total EU costs associated with rising numbers of Neets – €10.8bn in public finance and €142.1bn in estimated loss of output – are "very conservative", as they do not include extra spending on crime or health or the likely long-term scarring effect of unemployment.

However, they add that it is unrealistic to expect all Neets – who make up 15% of the total young adult population in the EU – to be integrated into the workplace, as the figure also includes those who might be looking after children or suffering from ill health.

"[The] €153bn is a hypothetical situation if all young people could be integrated into the labour market," said the report's lead researcher, Massimiliano Mascherini. "But another way to see it is that if just 10% of Neets could be reintegrated, 1.4 million people, it will represent a saving of €15bn [every year]." more

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