Using data on 53 countries, this paper studies the unemployment effects of the far-reaching banking liberalization that many countries engaged in between the late 1970s and the early 2000s. According to the regression results, this liberalization substantially decreased unemployment, particularly among young people. The lowering of barriers to the entry of foreign banks, new domestic banks and non-bank financial intermediaries, and the reduction in state ownership, had the strongest effects. There is some, albeit weak, evidence that the cutback in interest rate controls has decreased unemployment as well. The results are robust to both endogeneity and numerous variations in specification.