Young and Jobless in Europe:‘It’s Been Desperate’
Like millions of young people across Europe, Rebecca Lee, 25, has suddenly found herself shut out of the labor market as the economic toll of the pandemic intensifies.Her job as a personal assistant at a London architecture firm was eliminated in September.
Lee, who has a degree in illustration from the University of Westminster, sent out nearly 100 job applications. After scores of rejections, she finally landed a two-month contract at a family-aid charity that pays 10 pounds (about $13) an hour.
“At the moment I will take anything I can get,” Lee said. “It’s been desperate.”
The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly fueling a new youth unemployment crisis in Europe. Young people are being disproportionately hit, economically and socially, by lockdown restrictions, forcing many to make painful adjustments and leaving policymakers grasping for solutions.
Years of job growth has eroded in a matter of months, leaving more than twice as many young people than other adults out of work. The jobless rate for people 25 and under jumped from 14.7% in January to 17.6% in August, its highest level since 2017.
Europe is not the only place where younger workers face a jobs crunch. Young Americans are especially vulnerable to the downturn. But in Europe, the pandemic’s economic impact puts an entire generation at risk, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Young people are overrepresented in sectors where jobs are disappearing, including travel, retail and hospitality. Graduates are facing unprecedented competition for even entry-level positions from a tsunami of newly laid-off workers.
The scarring effects may linger. “If you’re unemployed earlier on in your career, you’re more likely to experience joblessness in the future,” said Neal Kilbane, a senior economist at Oxford Economics.
The European Union is trying to cushion the blow by encouraging businesses to recruit young people. But such programs may have little impact as Europe confronts its worst recession since World War II.
Europeans coming of age in the pandemic are lowering their expectations of the jobs and careers they can get. Many are resorting to internships, living with parents or returning to school to ride out the storm. Young workers without higher education risk sliding even further.
文／Liz Alderman and Geneva Abdul 譯／陳韋廷，核稿／樂慧生】
新冠疫情重創歐洲經濟與就業，25歲以下青年失業問題尤為嚴重，最新統計顯示9月約有299萬人找無頭路，專家甚至擔憂畢業即失業，對年輕人未來職涯影響恐持續一輩子，文中以表示「持續、徘徊」的單字linger來形容這一潛在影響，此字還有「逗留、拖延」之意，linger over one's work則指的是工作拖拉不認真做事。
unemployment為一常見新聞單字，跟文中另一單字joblessness均指「失業」，而疫情下企業裁員造成的非自願性失業，英文則說成involuntary unemployment，失業救濟金則是unemployment benefits，另外常聽到某人「待業中」的英文則是between jobs。