Économie et Statistique n° 378-379 - 2004Education-Employment Review
Youth employment at the heart of labour market dynamics
The analysis of youth employment cannot be limited to the identification of individual integration processes. Two other deciding factors also need to be taken into account: the effect of the economic situation and the influence of long-run changes on the labour market. In the first place, the youth employment rate overreacts to the economic situation. In addition to this indicator, the qualitative characteristics of jobs are highly sensitive to the economic situation, especially the extent of «occupational downgrading», the nature of the contract and the wage. This extremely high sensitivity of youth employability conditions to the economic situation is due to the fact that, as new arrivals on the labour market, they are overrepresented among the candidates for recruitment. This also places them at the heart of structural changes to employment standards, which operate mainly via recruitment inflows. This second aspect is not unrelated to the economic aspect since the distribution of temporary contracts, a factor of employment volatility, is one of the core elements of the structural changes to employment standards.