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Bleak outlook for young South Africans

Sep 04 2012 20:26 Sapa-AFP

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Cape Town – The youth unemployment level in South Africa will take longer than previously thought to revert to levels seen prior to the global financial crisis, an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report said on Tuesday.

South Africa's unemployment figures stood at 25% for the past year and was at 24.9% in the second quarter, according to the latest official statistics.

But SA's youth are not alone in their unemployment woes. Their their global peers are also experiencing unprecedented unemployment levels as the eurozone debt crisis spreads.

"As the euro area crisis continues in its second year, the impacts are spreading further, slowing down economies from East Asia to Latin America," the UN labour agency pointed out.

"The projected decline in youth unemployment in the developed economies region is not expected to be enough to pull the global rate downwards," it said in a statement.

In South Africa, the government has stepped up efforts to cut unemployment figures.

Key proposals in the National Development Plan is improving skills development and breaking disincentives to hiring young people, as well as increasing competition and breaking monopolies.

It also focuses on strengthening the social wage in order to raise the living standards of the unemployed and those with lower paying jobs.

The ILO warned that the expected drop in youth jobless numbers in developed economies, from a forecast 17.5% this year to 15.6% in 2017, also gave no reason to celebrate.

This is because the decline would arise "principally because discouraged young people are withdrawing from the labour market and not because of stronger hiring activity among youngsters."

 
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