Young, jobless in rich Europe

Young, jobless in rich Europe

Every night for over a week last month, young men in their early 20s rioted in a Swedish suburb north of Stockholm, setting cars and buildings on fire.

It was an act of desperation by young and jobless immigrants who live on the margins of society in one of the world's richest and most developed countries, a Nordic powerhouse known to be open, tolerant and generous in its welfare benefits.

In the suburb of Husby where these young immigrants live, the unemployment rate is twice the national average. But even outside such enclaves, Sweden's unemployment rate among youth aged 15 to 24 is high - at 23.6 per cent last year.

Two years ago, riots hit England's cities when thousands of angry residents of north London, Manchester and Birmingham - many of them young, jobless men - took to the streets.

Such incidents take place against a spike in the number of jobless young people. Since 2008, two million young people in the rich world have joined the ranks of the unemployed - an increase of close to 25 per cent, says the International Labour Organisation.

Young people in these advanced economies are also taking longer to find jobs and settling for jobs of lower quality, with more in temporary and part-time work than in the past.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described youth unemployment as Europe's most serious problem and there is a plan to address it through billions of euros in loans to promote education, training and job placements.

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