Unemployment: Italy's youth population in total slump
18 May 2011
Corriere della Sera
Young Italians are "threatened with extinction", writes Corriere della Sera, quoting the alarm sounded by Giuseppe Roma – director of Censis, the Italian institute for socio-economic research – during a hearing before the lower house of parliament. Compared to a decade ago, the 15 to 34 age group is 2 million fewer, the result of falling birth rates and growing emigration due to lack of professional opportunities. "A rent in the fabric of the labour market, where they are becoming a rarity", comments the Milanese daily, noting that this does not translate into an increased demand for young workers.
On the contrary, underlines La Stampa, young Italian "Neets" (i.e. Not in Education, Employment or Training) have reached a disturbing 11.2 per cent, compared to an European average of 3.4. But a barren occupational landscape is not a sufficient explanation: in Spain, where youth unemployment is over 40 per cent, only 0.5 per cent gave up looking for work. In Italy, however, "[m]any young people have accepted inactivity as a possible way of life, and the social security net provided by families does not help them overcome their apathy". Holding a degree makes finding a job even harder, so it's not surprising that only 20.7 per cent of Italians complete university studies (EU average is 33). In this context, the dwindling of Italy’s young population could eventually be positive thing for employment: "By 2020, 8 million elders will exit labour market, and there are hardly enough youngsters to substitute them".