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Finance Minister on Davos summit: Light at the end of the tunnel

Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen said the mood at the just-concluded World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was more optimistic than in previous years. However she said she feared the possible consequences of youth unemployment.

Valtiovarainministeri Jutta Urpilainen.
Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen says rising youth unemployment could have dire consequences. Image: Yle

Writing in her blog following the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen said that the mood had been lighter than in previous years.

“Many thought that there was already light at the end of the tunnel, if we take the right actions,” she wrote.

Urpilainen said that global economic leaders however continued to discuss reducing the level of debt in public finances, structural reform, increasing business and national competitiveness and fostering economic growth.

Rising concern about youth unemployment

The Finance Minister said that business leaders as well as politicians at the Forum highlighted their concerns about youth unemployment.

She wrote that left unattended, youth unemployment could lead to dire consequences.

“There is a genuine risk that following on the financial and economic crises we may see a social crisis. There is a great fear that young people will lose their faith and belief in the future. The consequences could be very dramatic,” she said.

Urpilainen noted that youth unemployment had already reached 60 percent in Greece, and had risen to over 50 percent in Spain.

The numbers refer to the number of under-25 year olds in the workforce. A large number of young adults are not part of the workforce, because they may be students, for example.

Statistics Finland reported youth unemployment in Finland at just under 20 percent at the end of December. As a trend indicator, the figure describes the development of the unemployment rate among young people in the workforce over the long term, and not for a single month.

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