By Max Clarke

Unemployment among 12 European OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member states remains 2 percentage points higher than pre recession levels, with persistent, long-term unemployment threatening to result in “widespread deterioration of human capital, discouragement and labour market withdrawal,” the OECD warn in a report, ‘Persistence of Long Term Unemployment: What Risks? What Policies?’

Just Germany and Austria have seen a reduction in unemployment, whilst joblessness in Spain has surged by more than 12%. the Unemployment gain in the UK is currently around 2.3%- the 11th highest of the OECD’s 34 member states.

As yet, Europe’s economies have avoided much of the risk associated with long-term joblessness, including widespread labour market withdrawal in which workers become averse or unable to return to work.

Youth- defined by the UN as 16-24 year-olds- are at the greatest risk of this, followed by the unskilled. For unskilled youth, the problem is especially pronounced, posing a serious risk of youth being ‘left behind’ by the labour market, or at best being ‘poorly integrated’, the OECD explain.

Spain has been the worst affected, with a staggering 40% of youth having been left behind or integrated poorly, followed by France at 27%. the UK currently fares more positively- at around 9%, though this figure threatens to balloon in the face of cuts.

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