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Youth employment

Young people and newspaper articles in the foreground

The EU is working to reduce youth unemployment and to increase the youth employment rate in line with the wider EU target of achieving a 75% employment rate for the working-age population (20-64 years).

Factsheet: Addressing youth unemployment in the EU

Key actions


  • Over 5 million young people (under 25) were unemployed in the EU-28 area in the second quarter of 2014.
  • This represents an unemployment rate of 21.7% (23.2% in the euro area). This is more than twice as high as the adult unemployment rate (9.0%).
  • 7.5 million young Europeans between 15 and 24 are neither in employment, nor in education or training (NEETs).
  • 12% of the 18-24 year old population are early school leavers.
  • In the last four years, the overall employment rates for young people fell three times as much as for adults.
  • The gap between the countries with the highest and the lowest jobless rates for young people is extremely high. There is a gap of nearly 50 percentage points between the EU country with the lowest rate of youth unemployment (Germany at 7.8% in July 2014) and with the EU country with the highest rate, Spain (53.8% in July 2014). Spain is followed by Greece (53.1% in May 2014), Italy (42.9%), Croatia (41.5%), Portugal (35.5%) and Cyprus (35.1% in June 2014).
  • There are significant skills mismatches on Europe's labour market.
  • Despite the crisis, there are over 2 million unfilled vacancies in the EU.


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