Unemployment is growing fastest among young people

During the current crisis, the unemployment rate among young people has increased the fastest as many lack experience and skills and work in the hard-hit service sector. The Unemployment Insurance Fund said the number of unemployed in the age group 16-24 has increased by a third.

On Tuesday, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) spoke to a woman in her early twenties who moved last autumn from Võru County to study at the Estonian Art Academy (EKA) in Tallinn. Soon after that, she found a job at the Härg restaurant, but the coronavirus crisis significantly reduced the business' revenue and she subsequently lost her job. Now she says she cannot afford to pay rent for her apartment in Tallinn.

"The worst part is the lack of knowledge about the situation. I can't plan anything regarding the apartment. I would like to go back to work as soon as possible," she told AK.

Data from the Unemployment Insurance Fund shows the overall rate of unemployment in Estonia is 6.9 percent but the rate among young people is 7.2 percent and is increasing.

Young people usually don't have savings and, in difficult situations, they mainly rely on their parents. Many young adults start gaining professional experience in the service sector which is reliant on tourism and has become very vulnerable during the crisis.

Head of the Youth Department of the Unemployment Insurance Fund Olev Kersen explained to AK: "Young adults, more often than not, have little experience. Regarding the age group of 16-24, they often haven't obtained a professional education."

The majority, 61 percent, of young adults registered with the fund are without professional education and 71 percent are without necessary skills - they either lack Estonian language skills or computer skills, Kersen said.

The Estonian Association of Open Youth Centers said young people should not be left to cope on their own with their worries.

"One of the main things is that the young themselves have to sense they are a resource. That means to think that when they are in this situation what do they really want to with their lives. I think that everybody is ready to help - the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Youth Support Program, Hoog Sisse in Tallinn, the Step Program," Manager of the Program of Open Youth Centers Association Heidi Paabort said.

Despite the uncertain state of the labor market, the Unemployment Insurance Fund is arranging a virtual job and career fair from Tuesday, April 14 to Friday, April 17.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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