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Europe’s youth feel the pinch from the crisis

An additional 1.5 million since low of March 2008 takes EU youth unemployment to 5.5 million.

“Intensified action is required to improve the situation of young people in the labour market and to significantly reduce youth unemployment”. So stated the European Employment Guidelines in 2008, and this statement is even truer following the crisis, with one in five young people in the European labour force now unemployed.

The indicator presented shows the quarterly unemployment rates for both 15-24 and 25-74-year-olds in the labour force. It could also be broken down by other age categories, gender, or highest level of education attained. As previous statistics of the month have shown, the unemployment squeeze is already significantly affecting more at-risk groups, such as the low-skilled.
 


(click image for full size)Data Source: EU LFS, Eurostat.

Key points:

  • Monthly data for the EU27 shows the youth unemployment rate rose to 20.7% in October 2009, taking the total number of young unemployed to 5.5 million from a recent low of 4 million in March 2008. This is significantly higher than the 7.9% unemployment rate for 25-74 year olds and indicates the extent to which the young, especially low-educated, are at risk and the efforts required to ease their (re-)entry into the labour market.
     
  • The EU average conceals significant differences between countries, most notably in Spain where, at double the EU level, two in five 15-24 year olds could not find work in Quarter 3 2009.
     
  • Baltic countries registered the largest increases in the youth unemployment rate between 2008 and 2009 (Quarter 3): around 20 percentage point rises took Latvia and Lithuania to 34% and 31%, respectively, while a 14 percentage point rise took Estonia to 28%.
     
  • Most European countries, however, registered increases in the youth unemployment rate of five percentage points or less. In Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia the impact was less severe, rising by less than 2 percentage points.

Note: Data presented here originate from the Eurostat’s Labour Force Survey (EU LFS) and are subject to its methodology.

Statistics and graphs Details

15/12/2009
Cedefop