Young 'hardest hit by recession'
Young people in Northern Ireland are being worst hit by the recession, according to research unveiled by the Equality Commission.
Its report, Employment Inequalities In An Economic Downturn, found young men in particular were suffering from the jobs squeeze.
The commission said people aged from 18 to 24 were being hit more heavily than any other age group as a result of the economic downturn.
The commission's chief executive Evelyn Collins said: "Fully understanding the impact of the recession on people in Northern Ireland to date is absolutely vital.
"Decision makers faced with greatly reduced budgets will have tough choices to make.
"The data in this research can inform their thinking on the impact of the recession and strategies for dealing with it.
"The doubling of unemployment rates for young men may have profound implications for the shaping of our future society, especially where there is a risk of damage to future careers and a possibility of long-term unemployment."
The rate of unemployment among 18-24 year olds doubled in 2006 to 2009, from 9.9% to 20.4%.
The figure is almost three times the overall unemployment rate and four times the rate for older workers. It is also above the UK average youth unemployment rate of 18.0%.
In Northern Ireland, the data illustrated that men have been disproportionately affected by the recession, especially those in the younger age groups.