Two things make the problem more pressing now. The financial crisis and its aftermath had an unusually big effect on them. Many employers sack the newest hires first, so a recession raises youth joblessness disproportionately. The number of young people out of work in the OECD is almost a third higher than in 2007. Second, the emerging economies that have the largest and fastest-growing populations of young people also have the worst-run labour markets.
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The Economist estimates that the world's population of NEETs (not in employment, education, or training) is a stunning 290 million - or around one-quarter of the world's youth.
Sadly, many of the 'employed' young have only informal and intermittent jobs. In rich countries more than a third, on average, are on temporary contracts which make it hard to gain skills. Young people have long had a raw deal in the labour market.
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