Youth unemployment

Analysis and comparison of Austria, France, Germany, Portugal and Sweden

Seminar Paper, 2006
19 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Conceptual overview
2.1 Way of Investigation
2.2 Definition of Youth Unemployment

3 Methodology

4 Findings

5 Discussion
5.1 Reasons for youth unemployment
5.2 Main goals to achieve
5.3 Reforms in the passed
5.4 Reforms in the future

6 Conclusions

1 Introduction

With four to seventeen percent unemployment rates, unemployment has become one of the most discussed topics in Europe. With a continued decrease in the number of people hired each year, this problem gains a special importance for young people. In 2004, within the European Union, more than 18,6 % people under the age of 25 were without a job.

This is why during the election campaigns in 2005, in Germany, according to the electors the party’s labour market policy was the most important subject for their decision. One reason for the long-lasting violent demonstrations in French suburbs last autumn was the inequitable chances for young people from these areas to get a job.

Especially for young people, a hesitant and hard beginning in their professional life means a lack in their CV, which can become a big obstacle for later jobs and for their whole career. Furthermore, the first job is often seen as a way of finding identification. A bad start and several rejections can influence the motivation to work and the working performance of young people.

2 Conceptual overview

2.1 Way of Investigation

This paper focuses on the employment market for young job seekers of five different European countries: Austria, France, Germany, Portugal and Sweden.

First of all, these labour markets are presented by giving a brief overview of the situation in each country. Furthermore, they are analysed and compared among each other regarding the reasons for unemployment in the different countries. Then, the main goals to achieve and the solutions offered to solve the problem of young unemployment are presented, before finishing with the conclusions.

2.2 Definition of Youth Unemployment

Young unemployment is understood as a special case of unemployment. In fact, young people between their required school life and their first jobs are very susceptible to unemployment. This is often seen in more deprived areas especially after the eastern enlargement of the European Union and the higher amount of competitors on the labour market.

According to the International Labour Office, a young unemployed has to fit the following conditions: being between the age of 16 and 25, not having a job (which means he has no work during the reference week), being available to work in 15 days and being actively looking for a job.

3 Methodology

Beginning this paper, the authors could choose between using a quantitative projection, which means that this paper is written in an objective and independent way. This made us searching for general knowledge. There is one true reality, which our paper aspires to describe as well as possible with the help of working structured and systematically. The alternative and total opposite to the quantitative approach to this would have been qualitative approach. The authors of this paper decided that a quantitative projection would be the most useful approach for this paper.

This paper is also written out of a positivistic approach. The positivistic approach, which was developed by Pierre Louis in the early 19th century, implies on coarse data in form of observations, is objective and presumes independence from preconceived opinions. It can also be seemed as a contrast to not verifiable speculation.

According to the presented structure of this work, the paper is based on two different kinds of sources. First of all, to get an economical background of the subject, theoretical knowledge is used. Therefore, books on economical systems, especially on unemployment, providing the macro-economical explanation for unemployment, were discussed. Further on, in order to establish a relation between these theoretical approaches and the reality, current figures of unemployment in the different countries have to be observed and used. This data is usually provided by the national employment centres, the ministries of labour in each country or the Federal Statistical Offices. To get a deeper understanding on this matter we also looked at several critical international articles concerning the current labour situation.

4 Findings

A brief presentation of the situation in each country will now be done concerning the development of unemployment and youth unemployment rates in the recent years. The figures presented below reveal a not satisfying situation within these countries and a real need of inverting the situation.

According to the Institution for unemployed people in Austria, the AMS – Arbeitsmarkservice – general unemployment rate increased by 1.6 % from 2003 to 2004 and in the following year by 0.5 %. The unemployment rate of Austria was 5.2 % on the 31st of January 2006. It could be figured out a higher increase of the unemployment of women compared to men. The unemployment lasted 107 days on average and around 21 % of all unemployed people are long-term unemployed. The seasonal tourism sector has a major impact on general unemployment [, 2006]. In October 2005, youth unemployment was 10.2 %, which meant an increase of 10.4 % in comparison to October 2004. This increase was especially provoked by an increase of unemployment of people between 20 to 24 years. With this, Austria ranges on the fourth place (see appendix 1) within European countries [, 2006].

In France, the unemployment rate is very high compared to other countries within the European Union. It slightly decreased from 2004 to 2005 from 9.9 % to 9.7 %. One possible explanation for this unemployment rate can be the higher rate of young unemployment. This rate increased by three points in two years and achieved 23 % in 2004. The figures are frightening since more than 70 % of young employees on this market have a fixed-term contract and 50 % of those have the duration of one month [, 2006].

In Sweden a total of 60,000 young people without a job could be found in January 2006, which represents a total young unemployment rate of 8.0 %. In comparison to January 2005 this rate slightly decreased from 8.2 %. In fact, the figure for 2006 includes 26,000 young people working in programs of the government. Although, without seeing them as unemployed, the unemployment rate of young people would change to 5.9 % [, 2006].

In Germany there are approximately 5 million people unemployed, which makes the country facing a rate of 8.8 % in January 2006. Of these unemployed, more than 1.8 million are unemployed for long-term. In comparison to January 2005 it can be recognized a decrease of 9.5 %. 110,000 to 140,000 people under 25 are without a job, which means 13.4 %. Parallel to the decrease of the general unemployment rate, less unemployed young people could be seen in January 2006 [, 2006].

In Portugal, the general unemployment rate recently increased from 6.7 % to 7.5 %. The youth unemployment rate is very significant, being more than double of the last. Recent developments showed that unemployment in these ages is growing under people with low and average levels of educational attainment. However, it should also be pointed out the high level of unemployment among young graduated people as well. In fact, the unemployment of those with higher education has increased by 15.9 % from 2003 to 2004 [, 2006].


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Youth unemployment
Analysis and comparison of Austria, France, Germany, Portugal and Sweden
Göteborg University
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Niklas Kürten (Author), 2006, Youth unemployment, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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