Youth Unemployment Above 20% Throughout Trans-Atlantic Area
June 4, 2012 • 9:00AM

Unemployment of young people 18-29 years old is now over 20% both in the United States and across Europe, having grown steadily in the past year.

In the 27 countries of the European Union, official unemployment increased by just under 2 million in the year from April 2011 to April 2012, and 490,000 of that increase took place among the youngest cohorts of eligible workers, 18-29 years old, according to reports by Eurostat released on the same day as the dismal May employment report in the U.S. The unemployment rate for this group is now 22.4% across the entire European Union. There are 5.5 million unemployed in the EU considering just those under the age of 25.

In the United States, the latest unfortunate Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report showed that 16.9% of eligible workers 18-29 years old are either unemployed or had joined the workforce and already dropped out of it, as of May. If those are included who would have been expected to join the workforce based on the history of recent decades, but never did join, this "youth" unemployment rate rises to nearly 21%. Both of these categories include large numbers of returning "Iraq War-era" veterans, who are relatively more skilled, but still unemployed.

This mass "youth unemployment" is also connected to the massive loss of construction employment throughout the trans-Atlantic area; 2 million jobs lost in the United States, and 2.1 million in the European Union, since 2007.