As tough as the job market is for millennials, it could be worse: they could be European.
“The European Union is failing its young,” according to a report from the Intergenerational Foundation, with high levels of youth poverty, unemployment, and economic policies that favor the old at the expense of the young rampant across the Old Country.
Across the EU, youth unemployment has reached 22 percent. In the United States, youth unemployment rate has fallen to 10.3 percent as of January. As in America, unemployment in Europe hits the young harder than the rest of the population.
In Spain, youth unemployment is as high as 53 percent. In France, it’s 24 percent, and in the United Kingdom, it’s 17 percent. Only in Germany (7.7 percent) and Austria (10.3 percent) are unemployment rates lower than the United States. Unemployment rates for Europe’s youth climbed between 2008 and 2013, when it reached a peak of 23.7 percent.
“This increase in youth unemployment has received a significant degree of attention from commentators and policy-makers, with fears being raised of a European “lost generation” which could be permanently disadvantaged in the [labor] market,” the report noted.
More American youths are in the labor force than their European counterparts, too. The labor force participation rate for youths in America is 61 percent, but only 40 percent in the EU. Juan Dolado, a Spanish economist, declared that Europe has “no country for young people.”
Stringent labor regulations and high minimum wages keep young workers out of work, along with weak economies and some disarray in European education systems. The European economic recovery has been much shakier than the American recovery, and the plight of its youth illustrates that.
For all the struggles American youths have in the United States, they still have better opportunities than most of their European counterparts.