So you’re young, ready to take up work, make a bit of money and, most of all, make the social contribution that is expected of all members of the homo economicus species. There’s only one problem. You live in Ireland.
Following on from my previous blog on the weakness of our market economy to produce jobs – except in the construction sector – let’s look at employment growth by age. Overall employment is rising, even if it is patchy. But not for young people. For young people, the jobs recession continues apace.
Employment grew by 2.2 percent overall. But for young people – between 20 and 34 years – it fell by 1.5 percent. Among older groups – over 50s – employment grew by 5 percent.
When we drill down further, we find that those aged between 30 and 34 years saw employment fell by 3.1 percent.
Since the crisis began, employment has fallen by 10 percent. However, for those aged 20-34, employment fell by a third. For other age groups, employment has recovered and increased – with employment among 50s and over increasing by 14 percent.
There has been some discussion about bringing Irish people back from abroad. It has been suggested that a main obstacle is our ‘high’ tax regime (sigh). As we see above, the problem remains what it has been some time ago – lack of jobs (though there will be some sectors that are undergoing growth).
Young people face more problems than just falling employment. Since 2008, nearly 475,000 people have emigrated. Unsurprisingly, the majority who left were young people. Over 300,000 men and women aged between 20 and 34 years have left the country – or 65 percent of all those emigrating.
For those who stayed behind it’s still tough out there in the labour market. The unemployment rate for those aged between 20 and 24 years the unemployment rate is 19.6 percent – twice the national average. No wonder Eurostat estimates that 40 percent of young people are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (for the age group 18 – 24 years).