What Keeps Young Europeans Out of Jobs? Stupid Rules.


The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis highlights two of its staffers, Economist David Wiczer and Research Associate James Eubanks, for an article they wrote for Regional Economist linking many European countries' sky-high, and continuing, youth unemployment rates to rigid employment rules. Basically, several Mediterranean nations that make it expensive and difficult to hire and fire saw a surge in unemployment for people under 25 during the recession—a surge that really hasn't gone away, and in some cases, is getting worse.

Some high points from the article:

  • Italy's youth unemployment rate went from 20 percent in 2008 to 42 percent at the end of 2013.
  • Spain's youth unemployment rate went from 21 percent to 55 percent over the same period.
  • Greece's youth unemployment rate went from 22 percent to nearly 60 percent during that time.
  • Portugal's youth unemployment rate went from about 20 percent to a bit less than 40 percent, and has trended upward since 2000.

By contrast, write Eubank and Wiczer, in the U.S. "the youth unemployment rate rose from 11.5 percent in early 2008 to a high of 19 percent in late 2009 and then began a steady decline. Canada had a similar experience, with a peak of 15.8 percent in late 2009."

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

What accounts for the huge difference in youth unemployment rates and the continuing joblessness?

The World Bank provides one way to quantify the rigidity of a labor market through its "rigidity of employment index," with higher scores indicating a more rigid market. In 2008, the average for the developed countries in the OECD was 26. Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain were all considerably more rigid, with index values of 43, 38, 47 and 49, respectively.

For context, on the World Bank index, Canada has a value of 4 (the U.S. entry on that chart is blank, but it appears to come in even lower), while Venezuela chalks up a 73. It just may be that countries that make it easier to hire employees when needed and dismiss them when not enjoy—shocker!—healthier employment rates because businesses don't feel like they're assuming huge risk and expense by taking on employees.

Wiczer and Eubanks conclude:

Bad labor markets have repeatedly been shown to have long-lasting effects on youth in many different countries. The postponed plans and stalled careers of millions of young workers are a national concern and should spur reflection on the institutions, policies and labor market structures that contribute to such different experiences across countries.

The World Bank looks in detail at employment regulations here.

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  1. But my proggie friends have been saying for decades that we need to be more like Europe!

    1. Liberal Scandanavia seems attractive compared to an ultra-conservative country like Saudi Arabia.

      1. Did you just go full racist?

      2. I’m sold now: PB is a bot of some kind. Because even RishJoMo does better on the Turing test than this post from PB.

        1. Would you prefer to live in Sweden or Saudi Arabia? It is an easy question.

          The latter gives you low taxes, an oil based economy, and religious traditionalism.

          I will await your answer.

          1. We get that you prefer lily-white demographics.

            We get that.

            But did you have to bring your stormfront views over here?

            1. Fail. Arabs are Caucasian.

              I am a cultural supremacist though.

              1. You’re a slimy turd.

              2. Re: Peter Caca,

                Fail. Arabs are Caucasian.

                They’re actually Semitic peoples, Caca.

            2. It is notable that whenever liberals and leftists point to “socialism that works,” it’s always tiny, all-white countries in Northern Europe. (And never mind their stagnant economies, their birth rates of demographic doom, and that most have backed off of socialism in recent years.)

              1. There are no socialist countries in Northern Europe.

                1. Palin’s Buttplug|6.24.14 @ 6:53PM|#
                  “There are no socialist countries in Northern Europe.”

                  That’s insulting, turd.

          2. Since we’re talking about youth unemployment, the non sequitur of talking about taxes, religion, and resource economies is more evidence of a Turing fail.

      3. Re: Peter Caca,

        Liberal Scandanavia seems attractive compared to an ultra-conservative country like Saudi Arabia.

        That looks like a reasonable retort to the argument that stupid socialit rules keeps the young unemployed in Scandinavia, doesn’t it? Not unlike saying ‘being raped in a fraternity house is more attractive than being shanked in prison’.

        1. Meant to say “Europe”, not “Scandinavia”, but Scandinavia fares no better than the rest of the UE countries in terms of youth unemployment:


        2. I was replying to another post. The UE rate in Sweden is 8%. They are no Greece.

          Abortion is illegal in Saudi Arabia too. That country is more like Texas than I initially suspected.

          1. Yet another RishJoMo Turing fail.

            Abortion is legal in Texas. How that makes it like Saudi Arabia is apparently only apparent to bots.

            1. Texas would outlaw abortion tomorrow if not for that pesky US Constitution.

              1. Re: Peter Caca,

                Texas would outlaw abortion tomorrow if not for that pesky US Constitution.

                If you understood the history of the Roe v. Wade decision at all, you would realize that abortion is legal depite that pesky U.S. Constitution and not because of it.

                I still don’t understand your reasoning, though. Abortion is legal in North Korea. Does that mean that North Korea is a freer place than Texas? Why bring it up, even?

              2. Source, please?

                (And, er, no, if not for that pesky Roe vs. Wade.

                The Constitution enters into the abortion debate only as a fig leaf for existing policy preferences.)

          2. Re: Peter Caca,

            I was replying to another post. The UE rate in Sweden is 8%. They are no Greece.

            The article is talking about youth unemployment, which is much higher in Sweden than 8%. Also, youth unemployment makes 40% of overall unemployment in Sweden whereas it is only 25% in Spain or Greece. So while you’re technically right that Sweden is no Greece, it is also no slouch when it comes to giving their youths the shaft.

            Abortion is illegal in Saudi Arabia too.

            And it’s legal in North Korea. I don’t understand your reasoning.

            That country is more like Texas than I initially suspected.

            That’s just racist. Just because there are lots of Saudi nationals working and living in Texas is no reason to point out their existence in such a disparaging way.

          3. Palin’s Buttplug|6.24.14 @ 6:12PM|#
            “I was replying to another post. The UE rate in Sweden is 8%. They are no Greece.”

            “The Socialist Scandinavian Paradise Is Turning Away From The Welfare State ? Unaffordable!”
            “Swedes in the supposed socialist paradise are turning to private health insurance to reduce long wait times and rationed health care services. The country started cutting government spending as a percentage of GDP in the 1990s, and that has continued.”

            Maybe Obo could learn something; it’s obvious you can’t.

  2. Scenario: Unemployed, disaffected youth sitting around in cafes reflecting on a dismal economic future foisting on them, in large part, from their elders and leaders.

    Result: Hai, guyz! Have any of you heard about my friend named Muhammed? He’s cool, and his God, Allah, is even better. Let me tell you about him. And by the way, anybody have experience with explosives? Just asking.

    1. In Arab countries, sure. In Europe (except for immigrant enclaves), it’s more like “Hai guyz! Have you heard about my friend named Marx? And by the way, anybody have experience with infiltrating governments? Just asking.”

  3. “Hard to fire, hard to hire.”

    Hard to believe we needed a big, expensive study for this.

    1. Why…there oughtta be an Iron Law…

  4. Ye gods. I really worry about what’s going to happen to our European friends when the U.S. economy tanks enough that we start really relinquishing our world cop role. When that happens, especially if the Middle East and Russia continue to be problem children, Europe will have no choice but to re-arm. That’s going to be extremely difficult to do while also funding all of the goodies.

    1. This has all happened before and will happen again.

      1. Like in the Wheel of Time?

        1. You wool-headed man!

          The imp of the perverse almost persuaded me to download the series and see if I could finish it. Luckily, it didn’t succeed. Does Rand ever find that fucking bowl???

          1. I stopped WAY before you did, sunk-cost-fallacy guy. So I have no idea.

      2. The only question is which world war we’re leading up to the sequel of, WWI or WWII.

        1. Don’t limit your imagination. We’re about due for a redo of the French Revolution, after all. Or shit, how about the Crusades?

          1. Let’s go Viking on the rest of the world. All able-bodied American men and women start dressing and acting like Vikings, all the way down to rowing boats over to England and the European continent, raping, pillaging, and so on. Prior to doing that, we explain to the world that they may fight back, but only using 12th century technology. Otherwise, Vikinukes.

            1. Vikinukes, ASSEMBLE!

              1. I don’t know why no one has ever thought about holding the planet hostage with nukes before as a new U.S. foreign policy. Please send us all of your money and sexy ladies, or we’ll nuke you. Yeah, whatever, we’re now crazy and don’t care if you’ll nuke us back. Pay up.

            2. Finally, a solution to the obesity crisis that makes sense. I get a Katheryn Winnick, right?

              1. I don’t see why not. With a nuclear-powered foreign policy, all things are possible. World Cup? The United States wins! By fifty goals!

          2. I want a sequel of the French and Indian War (also called the Seven Years’ War). I don’t want the French on our side this time.

            1. The French weren’t on our side the last time, either. We were still part of Britain during that one.

              Fun fact: George Washington more or less single-handedly started that little romp.

    2. But think! It will reduce their Youth Unemployment!

      1. Certainly, unemployment after WWI wasn’t a big problem. Kind of like right after the big plagues.

        1. Unemployment after WWII was a big problem. Then suddenly a woman’s place was in the home.

      2. Why didn’t they think of that! It’s perfect!

  5. What Keeps Young Europeans Out of Jobs?

    The crushing enui.

    1. No, no. The correct answer is “your mom”.

      1. Perhaps his mother is Crushing Ennui, a French-Canadian stripper who works at a club in Windsor.

      2. *adjusts turtleneck and sullenly smokes a cigarette at you*

        1. No, no, “Your story grows tiresome” is the preferred response.

          1. I am no longer allowed to touch his monkey.

            1. That is not a nun’s laugh. That is a whore’s laugh.

  6. I just drove down to the municipal pool to drop off my (employed) son’s dinner.

    America, fuck yeah!

    1. The she-spawn is only 15 and working already as a summer camp counselor.

      I don’t want give you the impression that she’s a go-getter, she’s not, she’d rather sit on her ass in front of her computer, but I’ll take her kicking and screaming into being a good little capitalist.

  7. Why don’t they all just get jobs with all the high-speed rail lines that I keep hearing so much about?

    1. That train left the station.

    2. They don’t last as long as the old-style rail ties.

  8. Cue up Obama who says we should have maternity leave just like France has.

    BTW, maternity leave is great when everyone works in large corporation where accounts receivables has a department of 20.

    Its far more burdensome for small companies.

    I guess progressives prefer big corporations.

    1. “I guess progressives prefer big corporations.”

      I don’t think proggies are smart enough to figure it out.

      1. If economic resources are more concentrated they are easier to control, what proggies like more than material equality is power. It behooves them, at least in the short term, to see big well connected companies dominate many industries. It’s a lot more convenient to dominate a few beholden entities than it is many independent ones. One of the big errors made by the intellectually honest leftists is that corporations corrupted the state, the reverse is true. Commerce, in and of itself is a good thing, formal political authority is inherently evil.

  9. Sometimes dude you just have to roll with it.


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