Nearly one in five young Europeans are not in employment, education, or training, research finds

On the eve of International Youth Day, celebrated on August 12, the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat has published a report on being young in Europe today, which contains information on the employment and education status of young people in Europe.

The study found that the percentage of young people neither in employment nor in education or training (NEETs) increases considerably with age. In 2015, the NEET rate of those in the 15–19 age group was 6.3%, as the majority of young people that age were in full-time education.

However, the NEET rate almost tripled to 17.3% for those in the age group 20–24, reaching 19.7% among those aged 25–29. The member states with the highest NEET rate aged 20–24 were Italy (31.1%), Greece (26.1%) and Croatia (24.2%). The member states with the lowest rates were the Netherlands (7.2%), Luxembourg (8.8%), and Denmark, Germany, and Sweden (all 9.3%).

Access to the labor market is essential for establishing independent life, particularly for people in their mid-to-late twenties. Long-term unemployment in particular is a major concern for policymakers.

The EU totals almost 90 million young people, representing 17% of its population.

Jochen Kluve has written about the relationship between education and youth unemployment for the IZA World of Labor. He notes that the gap between the youth unemployment rate and overall unemployment rate in OECD countries “can be attributed to the lack of work experience and weaker job search skills of young people to structural problems, including inadequate education and training and overly restrictive regulation of labor markets.” He then says writes that “active labor market programs can help, if they are comprehensive but they are expensive” but “earlier education system interventions to improve the school-to-work transition” may be even more important.

The Eurostat report can be accessed here.

Related articles:
Youth labor market interventions by Jochen Kluve
Does vocational training help young people find a (good) job? by Werner Eichhorst
Youth bulges and youth unemployment by David Lam
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