time and full-time work (Bø et al., 1993:187). This pattern corresponds to the rise in casual or temporary jobs, part-time jobs, marginalised workers and underemployment, which indicate that the current economic restructuring directly affects young people (ILO, 1988:33-4).
Figure 2, which shows the occupational status of young adults (20-29 years), reflects the changes in the labour market throughout the 1980s.
Figure 2. Occupational status for women and men 20-29 years.
Source: The surveys of standard of living 1980, 1983, 1987 and 1991.
The demand for unskilled workers was reduced, and unemployment levels have, since 1987, been on a scale not seen since the Second World War. These changes create new ‘destinations’ for young people, in the form of as more or less permanent unemployment, marginal employment or prolonged education. The figure shows a slight increase in unemployment, but the most obvious change is the rising proportion of young people who are marginally employed. High levels of unemployment seem to be followed by a growing number of people who are drifting in and out of work. These marginal workers have during recent years experienced rather long periods of unemployment and many job shifts as compared to other occupational statuses. Housework appears to be a shrinking status. During the 1980s the proportion of those who stay at home caring for a household, for children and eventually for elderly relatives, declined from seventeen to five percent. The figure also shows a rising proportion of young people in education. The number of students increased from ca. 105,000 in 1987 to almost 149,000 in 1991. Although some feel pushed into the education system, the majority of students seem to prefer education to work. Therefore, the choice to stay on in education can not be seen as a result of changes in the labour market alone, but rather as a mixed result of labour market changes, the expansion of the education system, and rising preferences for more education (Brant, 1992).