August 04, 2009
The unemployment rate for persons under the age of 25 in France regularly has been greater than 20 percent, while in Italy it rose to more than 30 percent, and in Spain it has surpassed 40 percent in recent decades.
Germany and Japan had very low youth unemployment rates at the beginning of the 1980s—around 4 percent. However, more recently, even Germany, with its apprenticeship system, and Japan, with its close cooperation between schools and businesses, have had youth unemployment rates similar to those in the United States, in or near the 10-percent range.
In the first years of the 21st century, youths in the United States experienced a small decline in unemployment rates, whereas their counterparts in Japan, France, Germany, and Sweden saw a sharp increase. Young people in Italy and Spain had very high unemployment rates throughout the 1980-2007 period. These trends generally follow the trends in each country's overall unemployment rate.
These earnings data are from the BLS International Labor Comparisons program. To learn more, see "A portrait of the youth labor market in 13 countries, 1980–2007" (PDF), by Gary Martin in the July 2009 issue of the Monthly Labor Review.