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Global Youth unemployment set to rise for first time in three years

More than a third of the world's young people will also live in moderate or extreme poverty

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 August, 2016, 4:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 August, 2016, 11:41am

Global youth unemployment will rise in 2016 for the first time in three years, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) forecast on Wednesday.

The number of unemployed people aged 15 to 24 will rise by half a million this year to reach 71 million across the world, the organisation said.

Meanwhile, 156 million or 37.7 percent of youths with a job will nonetheless live in moderate or extreme poverty, defined as per capita income or consumption below US$3.10 per day. That compares with 26 per cent of working adults, the ILO said.

"The alarming rise in youth unemployment and the equally disturbing high levels of young people who work but still live in poverty show how difficult it will be to reach the global goal to end poverty by 2030 unless we redouble our efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and decent work," ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy Deborah Greenfield said.

The increase in unemployment was predominately due to a slowdown in emerging economies, the ILO said. It now sees global economic growth averaging 3.2 per cent this year, 0.4 percentage points lower than it forecast in late 2015.

"This is driven by a deeper-than-expected recession in some key emerging commodity-exporting countries and stagnating growth in some developed countries. The rise in youth unemployment rates is particularly marked in emerging countries," ILO Senior Economist Steven Tobin said.

Major emerging economies in recession include Russia and Brazil. The International Monetary Fund sees the former shrinking by 1.2 per cent this year, while Brazil is forecast to shrink by 3.3 per cent. Both economies are seen returning to growth in 2017.

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