News / Europe

Economic Crisis Hits Spain's Youth

Economic Crisis Hits Spain's Youthi
|| 0:00:00
X
Al Pessin
October 26, 2012
With Spain's economic downturn entering its fifth year, the country's young people find themselves bearing a disproportionate share of the burden. Overall unemployment is 25 percent, unemployment among Spaniards under 30 years of age is 50 percent. VOA's Al Pessin spoke to some of Spain's young people during a visit to Madrid.
TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin
— With Spain's economic downturn entering its fifth year, the country's young people find themselves bearing a disproportionate share of the burden.  Overall unemployment is 25 percent, unemployment among Spaniards under 30 years of age is 50 percent.

First-year biology students at Madrid's Autonomous University are among the lucky ones, or so they thought.  They are some of the 30 percent of Spanish youths who go to university.  But with the long recession, they are worried that their degrees will not help them get jobs, even four years from now.

"When the crisis hit they cut funding for scientific research a lot," noted biology student Isola.  "So I am sure I will have to go to another country to do research or whatever because here there is no guaranteed work in scientific investigation."    

It would likely not make them feel any better to meet Sylvana Fernandez, 27, a woman with two business degrees, who that same day was having her first experience in an unemployment line.

"While I was studying, they told us it was a very good career [move] to have, a double degree, and that we would find jobs very easily," said Fernandez.  "And it was not like that.  When we went out it was really difficult to find a job.  We are not able to have a normal life of a 27-year-old boy or girl."

Fernandez had some temporary jobs after she graduated, just as the economic crisis was starting.  But even those have disappeared.  Like many Spanish professionals, she is thinking of leaving the country.

"Here I see that I do not have many opportunities and that my friends are also like me, so that worries me a lot," Fernandez added.  "It is not only me, it is everybody."

Experts say that is particularly unfortunate, because educated workers will be what Spain needs to rebuild its economy.  And millions of less-educated Spaniards will need to upgrade their skills so they can work in services or high-technology industries.  But that is a long and uncertain process that could leave Spain with a generation of discouraged workers, says Analyst Guntram Wolff.

"We are talking here about a lost generation, I mean the people between 20 and 30, they are essentially without a job, 50 percent are without a job," Wolff explained.  "And we know this is a life experience that marks you for your entire life."

Some young people who do not yet have to worry about getting jobs are trying to help those affected by the crisis.  These students from an expensive private high school volunteer at a food distribution center.

"In your life, normally, you ... live with people who have money, who can pay everything, and here are people who came here to... to have a breakfast.  It is an experience that I think every person should live," said Carmen Duque.

More and more Spanish young people are living the experience of economic hard times, one way or another.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 266 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid