Lost Generation: Greece Youth Unemployment hits 65%.

According to the most recent labor force survey released by the Greek government, nearly 65% of all Greeks aged 15-24 years old are unemployed. This is an increase over last April’s report of 54%. I am unsure, but this may be an all-time youth unemployment record for a “developed” nation.

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I have discussed this before: The Greek Government is shafting young workers in favor of older workers and entrenched labor unions. Entrenched Labor Unions agitate to keep competition out. This is exactly what is happening to young workers in Greece.

The entrenched Labor Unions in Greece, comprised mostly of middle-aged to older workers, have strangled the labor market through government regulation to such a degree that it is nearly impossible for younger workers to compete. Outrageous minimum wage laws, mandated pensions and benefits, and an extremely bureaucratic system which makes legally firing employees difficult are all designed to make older and more skilled workers more attractive for employment.  Why would an employer hire a younger, unskilled worker instead of hiring or retaining older and more-skilled workers when the employer is required by law to pay both workers the same, more or less?

When the State sets price controls on labor, the State creates unemployment. This is what Minimum Wage and Mandated Benefit laws do. That’s why whenever you hear about an unemployment problem in this or that locality, the little economist in your head should be asking: Unemployment at what price level? The monstrous Greek labor regulation system is causing marginal workers (the young and the unskilled) to be discarded because the system is pricing young workers out of the market. The deck is stacked against them. The data reflects this.

In no way do I delight in Greece’s suffering, but I will say that there is a silver-lining to the whole sordid affair: the Greek Tragedy is showing the rest of the world what happens when real Socialists are put in control. With any luck, young Greeks hungry for opportunity will emigrate to the USA. I welcome them with open arms!

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