Youths Flee Struggling Iceland

Ailing economy forcing mass exodus
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 2, 2008 3:49 PM CST
Around 2000 demonstrators crowd into a city square in Reykjavik during a protest provoked by the country's economic collapse.   (AP Photo/Brynjar Gunnarsson)
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(Newser) – Iceland faces its largest exodus in a century as job seekers flee the ailing nation, which is steeped in its worst financial crisis since independence. One survey estimates about half of Icelanders between 18 and 24 plan are thinking about leaving the country for Norway and other relatively strong economies. Iceland's own $7.5 billion economy may shrink by 10% next year even as the IMF provides a $4.6 billion boost, Bloomberg reports.

Inflation has reached an 18-year high as the tiny economy collapses under its foreign debt. Anti-government protests have turned violent as tensions rise on both sides. The state estimates that unemployment—which reached a 3-year high in October at 2%—will hit 7% by January.