Missed by the Boom, Hurt by the Bust: Making Markets Work for Young People in the Middle East

Amina Fahmy, Djavad Salehi Isfahani,
Djavad Salehi Isfahani
Djavad Salehi Isfahani Professor of Economics - Virginia Tech
Mary Kraetsch, Navtej Dhillon,
Navtej Dhillon Former Brookings Expert
Paul Dyer, and
Paul Dyer Policy Analyst - Brookings Doha Center
Tarik M. Yousef
Tarik Yousef
Tarik M. Yousef Former Brookings Expert

May 14, 2009

In Missed by the Boom, Hurt by the Bust: Making Markets Work for Young People in the Middle East, the Middle East Youth Initiative cautions that a new jobs crisis may damage future prospects for the region’s young people. For Middle Eastern economies, the global downturn coincides with a historically high share of 15- to 29-year-olds in the total population. This report shows that, even during the “boom” years of 2002 to 2008, young people in the Middle East did not benefit from high quality education and struggled to find decent jobs. Now, with labor markets already under pressure to generate employment for record numbers of graduates, the region faces a new set of challenges due to the global downturn and its affects on oil prices, exports, remittances, and foreign investment. For Middle Eastern economies to emerge stronger, policies forged during the downturn must be consistent with long-term goals of cultivating a skilled workforce, expanding the role of the private sector, and reducing the appeal of government employment.

Download the full report » 

Download the fact sheet » 

View individual sections of the report:

Introduction » (PDF)

The Boom Times: How Did the Young Fare? » (PDF)

Stalled Transitions: How Institutions Are Failing Young People » (PDF)

New Economic Crisis, New Risks for Young People » (PDF)

A New Policy Agenda » (PDF)

Emerging Stronger After the Downturn: The Imperative of Regional Cooperation » (PDF)