Young people are the most severely affected by unemployment in Panama. In March 2015, the rate exceeded 5%; 47% were young people according to data prepared by the Comptroller General of the Republic of Panama.

Women are more severely affected with 21% up to 19 years of age and almost 20% between 20 and 24. In the case of young men up to the age of 19, the unemployment rate reached 15.6% while those aged 20 to 24 supported a 14.1% rate.

In the opinion of René Quevedo, Sustainable Labour Insertion consultant, there are several factors that affect young people when they are looking for their first jobs. One is the miss-match of qualifications, as there are not enough jobs of the type they have trained for and many have to accept jobs for which they are not trained. To this, we must add crime, which also generates unemployment.

Quevedo adds that, each year, “the economy generates 5,549 jobs for young people to cater for 88,000 graduates (21,000 university students) and 219,000 young people who neither work nor study, most of which are economically inactive. Simple mathematics: 88,000 plus 219,000 does not fit in 5,549”.