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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

Why?

  • More than 4.5 million young people (aged 15-24 years) are unemployed today in the EU.
  • Although it has decreased – from more than 23% in 2013 to less than 21% today – the youth unemployment rate is still very high in the EU (with peaks of more than 40% in several countries). Long-term youth unemployment is still at record highs.
  • The EU youth unemployment rate is more than double the overall unemployment rate (20% compared with 9%) and masks big differences between countries: there is a gap of more than 40 percentage points between the Member State with the lowest rate of youth unemployment (Germany at 7%) and the Member States with the highest rates, Greece (50%) and Spain (49%).
  • Overall employment rates for young people fell by more than four percentage points between 2008 and 2014 (from 37.3% to 32.5%) – about eight times as much as for adults.
  • More than 7 million people in the 15-24 age group are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEETs).
  • 11% of those aged 18-24 are early school leavers.
  • High youth unemployment co-exists sometimes with increased difficulties in filling vacancies. This points to the existence of labour market mismatches, due to inadequate skills, limited geographic mobility or inadequate wage conditions.

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