Youth Unemployment – Then and now
Youth unemployment is a contentious and growing challenge for policy makers. The impact of “jobless growth” and modern labour markets where “jobs” are being replaced by “work” or “tasks” means those in the business of preparing the young for transitions from schools to work and further education face levels of uncertainty that are [arguably] as complex as they have ever been.
The simple rate of youth unemployment is one measure.
Rates and Ratios
Youth unemployment rates and ratios have recently spiked, suggesting possible changes in labour markets that are unfairly visited on the young.
As detailed in the International Labour Organisation’s Key Indicators of the Labour Market [KILM] it is generally understood that Youth Unemployment runs at some-where between two  to three  times the base “adult” or “standard” unemployment rate.
In 2015, there were regions in Victoria where this ratio of “youth” to “adult” unemployment exceeded FOUR-TIMES  the adult rate and in some regions reached FIVE-TIMES  the adult rate.
These regions appeared to have “additional” impediments to young people achieving a pathway to work and need to be studied closely. Simple “global policy settings” such as “more jobs” may not necessarily address the structural challenges of place.
The good news is that these rates appear to be ameliorating, whether by good policy, improved conditions or the vagaries of modern labour markets, remains to be seen.
With apologies to Aesop, “one swallow does not make a spring”, but there are some indications that youth unemployment rates are easing and this is a good thing.
The large variations within and between regions remains [in my view] the biggest policy challenge for politicians, educators and community leaders alike. Understanding the unique dynamics and local structural issues and responding in meaningful time-frames requires considerable local collaboration.
Having State and Federal policy respond to PLACE is still the biggest reform required.