This sample essay from Ultius will explore how long term unemployment is a serious issue facing the world at large, and is particularly damaging when applied toward the youth. As the current economic climate forces young workers to seek employment wherever they can find it, the continuous addition of more and more degree holders only decreases the value of a university education.
The unemployment problem among youths
More than ever, young people are finding it very difficult to get a job.This is a global issue that spans nations and languages. The youth of today represent a vibrant and eager potential workforce. They are more educated than any of their historical counterparts. And despite these traits, they are fast becoming migrant workers of today’s socio-political economic playing field. Young adults continue to suffer as those in power ignore their needs, and as the glut of university degree holders searching for jobs makes every other degree less and less valuable.
In Youth Unemployment, there is an article that posits that
“the public often views immigrants as a threat and laments the exodus of its own young people” (Karaim 425).
This statement, at first glance, appears to be a legitimate assessment. However, it leaves out the question of what other options exist for young workers. The argument centers around the fact that companies do not appear to be hiring—or, at least, do not appear to be hiring young workers. This type of global shut-out seems to indicate that there is something more fundamental going on.
In another section of Youth Unemployed, Reed Karaim tells the reader a story about a young South African woman who was trampled to death underneath the feet of the rushing hoards of thousands of potential students trying to land a spot in the public University of Johannesburg. South Africa has a youth unemployment rate of 70 percent, and as this young woman so tragically discovered, the attainment of an advanced university degree is often a matter of life and death (Karaim 415). In the case of South Africa, there is a double-whammy of issues as poverty also does impact professional outcomes.
In a 2005 study, it is asserted that “Economic performance in the product market and the labor market of any economy are closely linked” (Vroman 38). This claim may be true, but it doesn’t help to identify the factors that need to be addressed in order to get to work on solving the problem. If the labor market is directly tied to the product market, and the product market is sluggish, why then, the answer to prolonged unemployment—youth or otherwise—is simply to bolster performance in the product market.
Product markets and youth unemployment
If only the solution were that simple. The next question that follows is: “how exactly does one bolster a product market?” Product markets rely on the exchange of money goods and services. It is difficult to boost this market when there are such high percentages of people who are unemployed. Without a comfortable income to rely on, the unemployed are prone to further stalling the economy because of their lack of wiliness or ability to purchase goods and services in the product market.
Robert A. Margo’s review of Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America, by Richard K. Vedder and Lowell E. Gallaway, points out the wrong-headedness of the authors by examining the flaws in their theory. Attributing historical periods of high unemployment to government while ignoring or whitewashing deeply relevant social events and changes does nothing to bring insight into the complex set of issues that surround this social problem.
Instead, this work cherry picks the data it uses to support a unifying thesis. But this thesis is instantly invalid specifically because the authors were selective about which pieces of history to include. The facts they overlooked—seemingly on purpose—are precisely the facts that should have sent them back to the drawing board. Thus Out of Work deflates the hopes of readers for a comprehensive, convincing volume on the subject as one has yet to be written (189-190).
Margo points out that Vedder and Lowell blame the government—which is really a surreptitious way to blame the workers themselves. Most government interventions like the ones mentioned in Out of Work exist to help workers partially maintain their everyday lives as they continue the job hunt. Eliminating these “hurtful” programs would further cement the unemployed to abject poverty. Note how drastically breaches in work history affect the unemployed youth:
“One of the most important measures of the long-term impact of youth unemployment is the effect of a spell on future earnings. Forgone work experience may reverberate throughout a young person’s life. Perhaps this is because one job leapfrogs into another, and early unemployment would delay some of the first jumps. It also may be because lost experience, as posited by dual labor market theorists, permanently tracks young people into jobs characterized by low wages and little room for advancement.” (Mroz 278)
Delayed gratification for employment
Perhaps the desperate fight for jobs that the youth of today are putting up stems from an innate sense of this very information.
The developmental stages of a young adult’s professional career are seriously hindered by breaks from working. It is also true that while a degree holder’s degree is worth much less now than it was even just a decade ago, the option to not pursue higher education does not exist as all of today’s livable jobs require one, and they perform background checks to make sure you’ve actually got it. A major shift needs to occur where the blinders of the bureaucrats are ripped off so that they can join the search to find the answer(s) this global problem.
Karaim, Reed. “Youth Unemployment.” Related Reports 6 Mar. 2012: n pag. CQ Researcher. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
Margo, Robert A. “Out of Work Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America.” Business and Economics 48.1 (1994): 189. Proquest Research Library. Web. 11 June 2011.
Mroz, Thomas A., Dr., and Timothy H. Savage, Dr. “The Long-Term Effects of Youth Unemployment.” Epionline. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Welch Consulting Economists, Oct. 2001. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.
Vroman, Wayne, and Vera Brusentsev. Unemployment Compensation throughout the World. EBook Collection (EBSCOhost) ed. W.E. Upjohn, 2005. EPUB file.