Youth and long-term unemployment remain major challenges in 2015

Employment and Social Affairs

As announced by Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Marianne Thyssen, at a seminar on youth employment held on 19 January, the Commission intends to present soon an additional proposal to increase pre-financing payments to Member States under the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). This proposal aims at supporting those Member States which suffer of a lack of liquidity to implement the YEI and get inactive young people under age 25 into jobs.

The announcement comes right after the publication of the latest Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review, on 15 January, which stresses the continuously difficult employment situation faced by young people in the labour market.


Latest unemployment trend in the EU28 (EA18 between brackets) Source: Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review – December 2014

The review shows that unemployment rates of young people decreased in most Member States but remains very high, at 21.9% in November 2014. While some countries that typically have high youth unemployment rate, such as Greece, Croatia and Spain, have shown lower levels in youth unemployment with respects to 2013, in Italy this phenomenon is increasing and it is very high.

Although the Commission is determined to reinforce the functioning of the YEI and the Youth Guarantee initiative, also through country-specific recommendations, Member States are also called to put much effort in order to efficiently use these funds and implement the programs.

Also long-term unemployment and low employment opportunities for young adults aged 25-39 remain major challenges, as shown by the Review. In the second quarter of 2014, 5.1% of the labour force and around half of total unemployment, had been unemployed for more than one year, and more than half of these had been unemployed for more than two years, showing no recovery since the previous year. Young adults aged 25-39 continues to show lower employment levels and seems that they have not yet benefitted from the recent recovery.

A positive, although not optimistic, signal is shown by the overall employment rate that in the last quarter of 2013 has presented a small but consistent growth in the EU in the majority of EU Member States, including those countries with significantly high level of unemployment as Greece, Spain and Portugal. Employment rate has improved across many sectors, especially in the services sector, and in different forms, not only temporary and part-time but also permanent and full time.


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