States of uncertainty: Youth unemployment in Europe

Published Wed 13 Nov 2013
Using new statistical analysis of the youth unemployment picture across Europe, this report assesses the different roles played by education and training, business behaviour and labour market institutions in young people's transitions from compulsory schooling to suitable employment.

Youth unemployment has increased substantially in most European countries since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, reaching 5.5 million across the EU in the first quarter of 2013. However, it has been rising relative to the unemployment rate of older adults for far longe. Countries may be starting to recover from recession in economic terms, but this will not itself be enough to fix the problems of European youth labour markets. So what policy options are there?

This report presents new statistical analysis of youth unemployment, asking why Europe's young people are struggling to find work, and considering what policy lessons can be learned from the contrasting education, vocational training and labour market structures and institutions of different countries, and the different problems facing different groups of young adults.

Among the issues it explores are:

  • how the size and nature of transition systems and vocational pathways affects employment outcomes, and how education systems and labour markets can do this more effectively
  • the effects of different employment protection and out-of-work benefit regimes on youth unemployment levels
  • the ways in which the changing structures of national economies have affected labour markets and the job opportunities available within them
  • the boost that working while studying gives to young people's employability.
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