UN World Youth Report

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Chap 1: Employment and Youth

Across regions, young people are disproportionately affected by unemployment, underemployment, vulnerable employment and working poverty. Even during periods of economic growth, many economies have been unable to absorb large youth populations into the labour market. In recent years, however, the global financial and economic crisis has further hit young people particularly hard in the developed world.

From 11 to 17 October (Week I) 2011, the United Nations e-discussion on youth employment was open to all to share views and discuss the overall situation of young people in the labour market as well as key trends in youth employment. There were more than 300 comments posted by young people world-wide. Participation was particularly high from the African region.

What the research shows: The need to provide more and better jobs for young people exists across countries. However, youth employment challenges tend to differ in developed and developing economies. The developed world has been most significantly affected by youth unemployment spikes due to the global economic crisis, and its core challenge is the provision of work opportunities for young people who are entering the labour market.

Most young workers in developing countries are in the informal economy, which includes unpaid family work to which young people often contribute (International Labour Organization, 2010, p. 3). Work in the informal economy does not provide access to entitlements such as health insurance, social security and other social protection measures.

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The UN Focal Point on Youth aims to build awareness of the global situation of young people, as well as promote their rights and aspirations, working toward greater participation of young people in decision-making as a means for achieving peace and development.

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