Impacts of Unemployment on Young Adults

Updated on May 20, 2019

Youth and Unemployment


How Does Unemployment Affect Young Adults?

Poor economy and unemployment are some of the issues that raise concerns in every other country globally. This is largely due to the fact that they can result in a chain of event that can significantly affect an entire country. With high competition on a global platform, it is the young people who are finding themselves faced by a range of challenges of unemployment- these including low income levels and well-being. In addition to the contemporaneous, there are a range of negative long term impacts on the lives of these individuals in their later lives that include among others subsequent low pays and reduced life chances. Whereas there was a time when people would leave high school and find decent jobs to support themselves and their families, such factors and population increase globally and the fact that more people are highly educated have come to mean high competition among young people. Let's look at the various social and psychological impacts of unemployment among the young adults.



The Effects of Unemployment

With more and more people getting an education, there is great competition between them for available opportunities since education is no longer enough to guarantee young people jobs. Whereas this has motivated some of the young adults to get more credentials with higher levels of education, it has also discouraged others to drop out of school in a bid to start their own ventures, and hopefully become young millionaires and billionaires in their respective societies. Although this may sound like something interesting, and even worth considering, a majority will discover that dropping out of school may not have been the best option. On the other hand, high levels of unemployment has pushed the young adults to no longer concentrate on a particular job, but rather try their best to get a good job that will help them support them and their families. In addition, lack of more employment opportunities has also pushed some to take up short-term jobs as a stepping stone to better, permanent jobs.

Some of the long term impacts of young unemployment can be seen in their future pay and income. This is largely due to the fact that as a result of unemployment among the young adults, they are likely to remain in the low income bracket in the long run as they contend with short term, low paying jobs. According to Layte et al. (2000) this can not only result in lower future occupational status, but also downward job mobility that will ultimately result in having lower quality jobs. By looking at these predictions, a good number of the young adults are likely to be inclined in to getting wealthy in other means that may be described as unorthodox. According to a recent report, it was reported that some of the young adults and youth in the east African region are joining terrorist groups for economic benefits. With high levels of unemployment, some will be willing to do anything in order to benefit economically.

Dying Dreams?


The Relationship Between Unemployment and Drug use

In 2015, Lee, Hill, Hartigan, Boden, Guttmannova, Kosterman, Bailey & Catalano published a study that investigated that relationship between unemployment and substance use among young adults. For this study, the researchers tested to determine whether unemployment among the young adults predicted their heavy drinking episodes, smoking of cigarettes as well as the use of cannabis. According to the results that were obtained, the researchers came to the conclusion that unemployment is associated with heavy drinking episodes among young adults as well as cigarette use. However, no relationship was obtained between unemployment and the use of cannabis.

Unemployment and Alcohol


Comparing Two Countries

While New Zealand and Finland are both small countries, they are also developed nations with governments that support re-distributive welfare policies. When economic recessions hit the two countries in the late 80s and early 90s, they reacted differently. Whereas New Zealand went on to reduce the scope of its welfare state, which resulted in high income inequalities, this was not the case in Finland.

For a number of specialists, the economic recession, and economic inequalities in the country had resulted in increased levels of suicide among the young men in New Zealand. As Brenner (1983), put it, instability and insecurity of the economy tend to increase the likelihood of immoderate and unstable life habits, causing disruptions of the basic social networks and even causing major life stresses. With this statement, he predicted that as a result of unemployment and unusually low rates of economic growth with the less skilled being laid off, the rates of mortality would increase. Testing this hypothesis on data from England, Wales and the United States, Brenner found statistically significant associations in the predictions. According to the results of the study comparing Finland and New Zealand, researchers were able to come to a number of conclusions. First it was noted that while Finland was well able to establish a comprehensive welfare state that buffered the young males from the negative effects of unemployment in the course of the recession, New Zealand had a limited welfare arrangement that was unable to protect the young men at an age where they were about to start looking for employment. As a result, the recession was linked to the increased suicide that was committed by young men. This study proved significant in showing the impacts of a bad economy and lack of employment opportunities among the young adults.
Unemployment among young adults has also been found to result in reduced happiness as well as health problems among the youth. This has especially been as a result of social exclusion stress and worries associated with unemployment. To try and forget about their problems and worries, they often find themselves using various drugs or becoming heavy alcohol consumers. On the other hand, unemployment has been associated with increased levels of crime among the young adults. Although all these has been found to be true, some of the young adults have gone to start their own business, getting more education and becoming successful individuals.



Final Thoughts

With the ever growing global population, there is a need for appropriate initiatives to be taken to help the young adults find ways of starting their own projects/ventures that can help enhance their lives given that a majority of these young adults are educated. For this reason, they should get sufficient training and education on the need to come together as teams to start their own businesses, and get to employ others in the process. This will go a long way in improving the lives of the young adults globally, creating more opportunities and doing away with poor health decisions associated with unemployment among the youth.

What Do You Think We Should Do About Unemployment?

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