For many people, unemployment may just last a few weeks or months, and, as such, does not pose a problem. Unemployment, however, for some people can last much longer – sometimes stretching to years.

Whilst the total unemployment rate provides an indication of the number of workers in an economy who are currently out of work, the long-term unemployment rate measures something different: how many of these unemployed persons have been out of work for longer than 12 months. This is expressed as a percentage of the total number of unemployed persons in an economy.

The reasons why people may find themselves in long-term unemployment are many and varied, but one of the major causes is a lack of the skills currently in demand by employers, which allow people to make a successful transition from being out of work to finding employment. The longer people are unemployed, the more outdated their skills may become, and the more difficult it may become for them to persuade employers to hire them. The effect of this is that they can become locked into a vicious spiral. Long-term unemployment is closely associated with poverty and social exclusion.

Note: All estimations are Skills intelligence Team own calculations based on Eurostat data.