Millions Of Young People Worldwide Remain Unemployed Because Of The Pandemic, UN Says


The number of unemployed young people around the world is set to hit 73 million in 2022, a slight improvement from the year before, but still well above global youth unemployment rates before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the United Nations, which found young people have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus health crisis.

Key Facts

The number of people unemployed worldwide between the ages of 15 to 24 is projected to fall by two million from 2021 to 2022, according to the report from the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency.

But that’s still six million more youths unemployed worldwide than in 2019, before the Covid pandemic, according to the report.

Young women are nearly 1.5 times less likely than men to be unemployed, the report found, with 27.4% of women worldwide expected to be employed in 2022 compared to 40.3% of young men—and this gender gap was the largest among lower-middle income countries and the smallest in high-income countries.

Surprising Fact

The percentage of youth not employed, undergoing education or training in 2020—the most recent year for which global data is available—spiked by 23%, the highest level in 15 years, and up 1.5% from 2019 when the Covid pandemic first hit.

Big Number

8.4 million. That’s how many jobs for young people could be created through transitions to more sustainable economies, or by implementing what the UN calls environmentally-conscious “green” and ocean-related “blue” policy measures.

Key Background

The Covid pandemic disproportionately impacted young people’s economic and employment opportunities, according to the authors of the UN report. Many were forced to drop out of the labor market or were unable to enter it because of lockdowns and other Covid restrictions, while others were unable to pursue education due to lost family income and the move to distance learning, the authors said. These difficulties in some places have been compounded by the war in Ukraine and other conflicts in developing countries. High-income countries are the only places expected to reach nearly the same youth unemployment levels as before the pandemic. In the U.S., for instance, the youth unemployment rate in May 2022 fell to 7.8%, the lowest level since February 2020. The negative trends in youth unemployment are “jeopardizing” worldwide progress toward achieving several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, according to the report authors, who contended countries must take “decisive policy action” to help young people access education, support their entry into the labor force and address high youth unemployment numbers.

Further Reading

Global youth unemployment set to slip to 73 million in 2022: UN (Economic Times)