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Youth unemployment drops in Denmark

Employers are `taking a chance on youth,' says analyst. Denmark’s flexible job market encourages young hires

Denmark’s flexible job market is now making employers more likely to “take a chance on youth” and open up positions to them, says Erik Bjørsted, Chief Analyst at think-tank The Economic Council of the Labor movement.

This is one explanation for why youth unemployment figures have fallen, according to the most recent labour force survey.

The unemployment rate for under-25’s has fallen from 14.8 per cent in early 2012 to 11.7 per cent in the last quarter of last year. It also fell over 2 percentage points for 25-34 year olds.

Flexible job market

Bjørsted credits favourable market conditions for the fall. “In Denmark we have a very flexible market where it is easy to hire and fire, which gives employers confidence and means they are more likely to open up positions to youth.”

Another possible explanation is that recent social benefit reforms have motivated young people to undertake further education, giving them a better chance in the labour market.

“What we hear from universities is that more young people are looking towards universities for further education,” he said.

Growth not guaranteed

However this doesn’t mean youth job prospects are completely safe or that unemployment rates are destined to drop further.

“There are concerns that the Danish labour market won’t keep up its present pace, there are some fears that growth and employment will slow down a bit,” says Bjørnsted.

“There are also concerns that deflation in the euro area will damage export possibilities which will slow growth, so we’re not necessarily safe yet.”

For now, the figures mean Denmark has one of the lowest youth unemployment rates within the EU, with Germany, Holland, Austria and Malta ahead.

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