NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Upcoming college graduates around the world will soon find themselves entering a workforce at a time when employment opportunities are especially bleak for young adults, according to a new Gallup analysis.

A worldwide unemployment survey conducted by the pollster in 2009 and 2010 reveals that young adults from 15-29 years old are twice as likely to be unemployed or underemployed than their counterparts in their 30s and 40s: 12% of the young adult population reported being unemployed while people between the ages of 30 and 49 reported only 5% unemployment.

This difference is also prominent among those who were considered underemployed – that is, part-time workers looking for full-time work. Gallup says that more than one in four young adults around the world were in this category as opposed to the 15% of adults in the 30-49 age range.

Among those who are working though, the picture skews in the opposite direction: 42% of younger adults report working full-time jobs as opposed to 34% of people in their 50s and 60s.

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Drilling down into the findings, every region shows a similar trend, the analysts say. Unemployment rates for young people in the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and the Americas are relatively equal, floating between 16% and 18%. Underemployment for young adults is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, with 38% of that age group reporting that they are underemployed, while in America 35% of younger workers reported this.

But employment itself isn’t the end of the story: Job satisfaction was also found to be quite bleak across all age groups. More than half worldwide who are employed young adults say they are not content with their jobs, with fully 80% of people between the ages of 50 and 69 in the Americas reporting being dissatisfied at work.

Gallup researchers found that employment rates are highly linked to a country’s gross domestic product, as well as its well-being. Indeed, unemployment in the youth population has largely been attributed to the ongoing social unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

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