Young workers in the U.S. could be forgiven for feeling a bit stressed right now, what with unemployment for workers between 16 and 24 years old standing at 20 percent, and numerous books, articles and reports examining a "lost generation" in painful detail.
Yet it could be a lot worse – in Japan, the Labor Ministry reported, 56 percent of workers aged 15 to 34 needed support from their parents to get by.
That has serious long-term consequences: "Many of Japan’s youth have become part of a lost generation that can’t find full-time work or get paid the amount they deserve," Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai- Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo, told Bloomberg. "This means more workers are missing out on the chance to gain the skills they need."
The unemployment rate for workers between 15 and 24 jumped to 11 percent, which is twice the national average and the highest rate in 40 years.
Although unemployment is lower in Japan, a higher cost of living and declining birth rates, along with national debt that is almost 200 percent of gross domestic product, mean that young workers face a long struggle towards independence. The nation also has notoriously rigid labor markets and a huge group of aging workers who will soon retire and require support.