- The extent of regional disparities in youth unemployment varies largely between countries, but the extent of regional disparities is not necessarily linked to the overall levels of youth employment
- Large regional disparities in youth employment can be found in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Bulgaria, and the UK
- Relatively low regional disparities in youth employment can be found in Finland, Denmark, Ireland, and Greece
Observations for policy
The degree of regional disparities in youth unemployment largely varies between countries. This situation is not necessarily linked to the overall levels of youth unemployment, but countries with comparably low youth unemployment rates can have very high regional disparities in youth unemployment (e.g. Germany). The opposite is also true for countries with high levels of youth unemployment that demonstrate lower levels of regional variations (e.g. France, Greece).
High youth unemployment rates do effect the difficulties faced by young people in finding jobs. This is increasingly a policy concern, also with relation to the Europe 2020 objective on inclusive growth.
Almost 40% of the 15-24 year old youths have in 2010 only temporary contracts – and their number is rising. This increases the risk of young employees becoming ‘trapped’ in temporary employment or even becoming unemployed.
Cross-national differences in youth unemployment are considerable. In 2011, unemployment rates in the age group 15-24 were especially high in Spain (46.4%), Greece (44.4%), Slovakia (33.2%), Lithuania (32.9%), and Portugal (30.15%). In some countries this is also linked to high proportions of NEETs (Neither in Education, Employment nor Training).
The map shows the regional youth unemployment relative to national means. Generally, dark green regions have youth unemployment well below the national mean whereas dark red regions have much more youth unemployment than the national mean. The map needs to be interpreted at two levels:
- Looking at single regions individually, the map shows whether its youth unemployment is lower or higher compared to other regions in the same country. Because of the use of national means, single regions cannot be compared across countries.
- Reading the map a European level, one needs to compare countries as regards the range of disparities within them. This reveals that countries with rather large discrepancies of youth unemployment are located, for instance, in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Romania and Bulgaria. Whereas countries like Finland, Denmark, Ireland and Greece show less disparities between their regions when it comes to youth unemployment.
Regrettably, the map does not allow the comparison of absolute levels in youth unemployment across Europe.
Concepts and methods
Youth unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed in the age group 15-25 years old compared to the total labour force (both employed and unemployed) in that age group. A large share of people between these ages are outside the labour market (since many youths are studying full time and thus are not available for work) which explains why youth unemployment rates are generally higher than overall unemployment rates, or those of other age groups.
Presenting unemployment figures in relation to the national mean value means that the map does not show the actual unemployment rates. The national mean is the arithmetic average of figures for the regions within a country. The map shows how the unemployment of a region is as compared to the national mean of the country in which the region is located.