Europe's unemployment falls hard on young job seekers

Updated: 2011-11-03 08:43

By Fu Jing and Liu Wei (China Daily)

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CANNES, France - Unable to find a job, Sean Ganley decided to drive from his home in Northampton, England, to London more than 10 days ago.

He was drawn to the capital city to join the Occupy London Stock Exchange demonstrations, which, like the Occupy Wall Street in the United States, are aimed at protesting corporate greed and a host of other matters.

Since coming, he has spent most of his time, aside from the occasional trips he makes to friends' homes to take a shower, in the camps that have been set up in front of St. Paul's cathedral in central London.

"I am here just hoping to raise people's awareness of a number of social problems, such as the tough job situation," said Ganley, 30, who holds a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering.

Ganley is one of the increasing numbers of young Europeans who are without jobs and are feeling a pinch from the region's worsening debt troubles, which will be a main topic of the G20 summit this week.

He once believed he could find a job that would pay him a salary of 25,000 pounds ($40,000) a year, an average amount for a beginner. He said several companies had gone so far as to sign contracts with him but, in the end, decided against employing him. Some said he was overqualified for the position they had open; others offered no explanation.

"I have tried to find (a job) since graduation four years ago, but I have failed," said Ganley, adding that he has considered working as a waste collector or a driver.

He now lives on the 600 pounds he receives from the government every month.

"I want to end this kind of jobless life," Ganley said.

He and others with the same goal, though, have a great number of obstacles before them.

While EU leaders continue to look for a way to prevent the debt emergency from spreading, jobs are becoming harder to come by.

On Oct 26, the UK Office for National Statistics said 2.57 million people were out of work in Britain from June to August, the most who have been without jobs since 1994. Among them were almost 1 million young people.

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, said on Monday that the unemployment rate in the 17 states that make up the eurozone was 10.2 percent in September. That was up from 10.1 percent in August.

The 27 countries in the EU, meanwhile, reported an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent in September, up from 9.6 percent in August.

Finding work is especially difficult for the young. In August, 5.14 million young people in EU member countries were unemployed. Of those, 3.13 million were in the euro area.