Debt Takes Front Stage at World Economic Forum

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european central bankIn January, unemployment in the euro zone hit a record high of 11.8 percent, with youth unemployment at 24.4 percent. This average is misleading because of the wide range of employment rates across the region. Spain’s unemployment rate was 26.6 percent, with 56.5 percent of youth unemployed, while major economies like Germany sit at 5.4 percent total unemployment.

Europe’s finance ministers, together with the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, orchestrated a series of bailout packages and support programs for Greece and other national economies that have faced crises over the past few years. Europe has been consistently cited by U.S. investors and businesses as perhaps the weakest link in the the global economy. Losses in the region have been tremendous, for both domestic companies and international companies with operations in the area.

“Economically, the global economy still grew by 4% over the past three years, despite experiencing the deepest global recession since 1945,” said Schwab, executive chairman of the forum. “Surveying these issues, it seems that the world remains in crisis mode, with many expressing little hope that the situation – particularly the economy – will improve. But we forget how much the state of the world has improved.”

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