One in six 18 to 24 year olds was neither in education nor employment in 2010.

After finishing secondary school, young people should either get a job or enter further education – and if not, they must receive appropriate support through active labour market or social measures. Young people should not be left behind at an early stage. (Flagship initiative “Youth on the move” , Communication from the Commission, 15.09.2010).

The indicator considered here is the share of young people (aged 18-24) who are not in employment and not in education or training (NEET rate).


Key points

  • In 2010, 16.5% of the EU young population (aged 18 to 24) was not in employment and not in education or training (NEET rate). Data, not yet available for 2011, are likely to show further deterioration.
  • In 2010, the NEET rate varied, widely, across EU countries. It was highest in Bulgaria, (over 25%) and lowest in the Netherlands (less than 7%).
  • The NEET rate increased by 2.6 percentage points in the EU between 2008 and 2010, cancelling out progress in previous years.
  • NEETs increased in almost all European countries. Between 2008 and 2010, unfavourable trends were particularly observed in Latvia and Estonia (rates were up by 8 or more percentage points). In many other countries, increases ranged between 1 and 7 percentage points. Only in Germany, Austria, and Sweden NEET rates were relatively stable (variations by less than 0.2 percentage points).

Data originate from the EU Labour Force Survey and are subject to its methodology. Data were extracted from the Eurostat online database on 1st November 2011 and processed by Cedefop. In interpreting the data, possible differences in national implementations of the EU LFS should be taken into account.

Data for Sweden, Malta and Netherlands are provisional. Data for Romania and Luxembourg 2010 are not presented.

The population of young people aged 18-24 may be divided into four broad categories:
a) those only in employment, (i.e. employed and not in education or training);
b) those only in education or training (i.e. not employed but in education or training);
c) those in employment and in education or training (i.e. employed and in education or training);
d) those neither in employment nor in education or training (i.e not employed and not in education or training).

Those in the latest groups are, commonly defined as NEETs. The number of NEETs (as % percentage of the total population aged 18-24) is commonly defined as “NEET rate”.