ILO Warns About Youth Unemployment in China

Youth unemployment has created “a generation at risk” according to the International Labor Organization, with worldwide youth unemployment forecast to rise to 12.8 percent by 2018. But these headline figures do not necessarily tell the real story given the discrepancies among different parts of the world.

In the developed economies, the youth unemployment rate – unemployment among those aged 16 to 24- is approximately 18.1 percent. While the rate of Germany stands at 9 percent, those of the UK and the U.S. are 20 percent and 16 percent, while in Spain and Greece half of the young people are jobless.

One may imagine that China – perhaps the world’s only economic powerhouse at this moment – would have a low youth unemployment rate. According to the official figures it does: youth unemployment stood at 4.1 percent in 2010. Yet this number must be taken with a grain of salt considering the Middle Kingdom does not use the internationally accepted metrics to measure such unemployment.

If we turn to other sources, the picture is rather different. For instance, a report prepared by the China Household Finance Survey in 2012 puts China’s youth unemployment at 8.1 percent. Others suggest that the rate to be as high as 20 percent.


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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza