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ILO predicts rise in global youth unemployment

The International Labor Organization (ILO) sees more young people jobless over the next five years. While youth unemployment in the Western world will ease, sluggish growth will take a bigger toll in emerging countries.

Global unemployment among young people, aged between 15 and 24 years, will edge up slightly in the course of the next five years, from currently 12.7 percent to 12.9 percent in 2017, according to predictions published by the ILO Tuesday.

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The ILO, which is a United Nations' body, said that "paradoxically" youth unemployment was expected to ease in the industrialized countries, while it was forecast to rise in the developing world.

"This is a result of the extraordinary rise in youth unemployment in the Western world since the beginning of the financial crisis, compared with all other world regions," Ekkehard Ernst, the author of the ILO study, said in a statement.

According to the ILO labor development expert, the jobless rate of young people in the industrialized world would drop from 17.5 percent currently to 15.6 percent by the year 2017, which was still "far higher" than the 12.5 percent recorded prior to the crisis in 2007.

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No letup in joblessness, warns ILO

In the report, ILO noted that the adverse affects of the eurozone debt crisis were beginning to "substantially hurt" both the emerging economies and the developing countries.

The highest youth unemployment ILO predicted for the Middle East region, where the jobless rate among young people would jump from 26.4 percent currently to 28.4 in 2017. In the Southeast Asia and Pacific region, ILO forecast the rate to rise from 13.1 to 14.2 percent over the next five years.

In Europe, job prospects of young people would "differ hugely," ILO said, ranging from less than 10 percent unemployment among young people in Germany and Switzerland to more than 50 percent forecast for those living in Greece and Spain.

However, the ILO warned that its figures for the industrialized world might not fully reflect reality, as more and more young people would "retreat" from official labor markets, and focus on "informal activities" to carve out a living.

The ILO called on governments and businesses to create job programs specifically tailored to the needs of young jobseekers. The organization mentioned Sweden as an example, where businesses would receive tax breaks in exchange for hiring young people.

uhe/mz, ipj (dpa, Reuters)

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