Unemployment up among immigrant youth: report

Youth unemployment among immigrants has risen sharply despite a record number of vacancies in the Swedish labour market.

Unemployment up among immigrant youth: report

Unemployment among foreign-born young people has increased by more than three percent over the past year at the same time as it has declined by ten percent among Sweden-born.

“They are a vulnerable group with a fragile educational background which we have seen find it hard to take advantage of the upswing,” said Tord Strannefors, forecasting director at the National Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).

More than every fifth young person with an immigrant background lacks high school qualifications and twice as many get stuck in long-term unemployment in comparison with Sweden-born counterparts.

“This is serious. There is a risk that will be excluded from the labor market,” Strannefors said.

Many also feel discriminated against because of their background.

“Sweden has great ambitions for integration. But there is nothing in practice,” said one young job-seeker.

“Employers must get accustomed to having people with different backgrounds in the workplace. Many have never had it, they hire through their own networks and then it is only Swedes.”

The image of the fragmented labor market is both alarming and of concern, according to Sweden’s integration minister Erik Ullenhag.

“If you as a young and foreign-born do not secure a foothold in the labor market the risk is that you feel a very weak connection to society. You feel that that there is no future,” Ullenhag said.

The reasons behind the increase in unemployment within the group is explained by the international crisis and economic downturn, Ullenhag said.

“We know that in a situation where the economy is declining, it is mainly young and foreign-born who are not able to establish themselves or remain in the workforce.”

Ullenhag identified education and schools as having a key role.

“To break the cycle more investments are required. Secondary schools have a key role, as well as an apprentice system that will soon be launched in full,” he said.

Ullenhag also said that a review of the system of income support (socialbidrag) could be required.

“This is a group that is likely to be dependent on income support and there we need to consider whether we can have a clearer line on jobs.”

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Unemployment in France falls slightly despite the lockdown

Unemployment in France has fallen slightly, despite the ongoing ravages of the health crisis and consequent lockdown, latest statistics show.

Unemployment in France falls slightly despite the lockdown
Photo: Stephane du Sakatin/AFP

The number of unemployed job seekers in mainland France fell by 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2021, according to figures published by the French Ministry of Labour on Tuesday.

There were 3,560,600 unemployed registered at the Pôle Emploi (unemployment office), 12,200 fewer than during the last three months of 2020.

This follows a 2.7 percent fall in the final three months of 2020 – but the rate is still up 6.8 percent compared with the first three months of 2020, before Europe began to feel the economic impact of the Covid pandemic.

Currently all ‘non essential’ shops in France have been closed since April 3rd, while bars, restaurants, cafés, gyms, cinemas, theatres, museums and tourist sites have been closed since October 2020.

Despite the fall the total number of job seekers, the number of people who were in work but with reduced hours was up by 0.8 percent at the start of 2021, to 2,156,300.

That means that in total 5,716,900 people in mainland France were registered with Pôle emploi during this period, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with a year ago.

“Over the course of 2020, in one year, unemployment rose by 8 percent. This is obviously a lot, but we must remember that during the crisis of 2008-2009, unemployment leapt by 25 percent, so we can see that the government assistance is working,” Minister of Labour Élisabeth Borne told BFMTV on Tuesday.

The French government has put together a huge package of economic aid to try and mitigate the effects of the repeated lockdowns, from chômage partiel (furlough) schemes for employees to aid packages for business owners and the self-employed. But many small retailers have been hit hard by the three periods of closure for non-essential shops, while the tourist, leisure and hospitality sectors have also had a devastating year.

The economic downturn linked to the pandemic has disproportionately affected young people in France.  Across all categories of job seekers (unemployed and with reduced hours), the latest figures show a rise of 7.1 percent in a year for those under 25, compared to 4.5 percent for the 25-29 age range, and 4.8 percent for those aged 50 and over.

Men are also more likely to have signed up to Pôle emploi, with a 6.1 percent increase on last year, compared to a 3.8 percent increase among women.