A Quick Guide To Europe's Deteriorating Youth Unemployment Nightmare

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Tens of thousands of students were protesting spending cuts to education in Spain yesterday. One student told the AFP: “When I finish university, I see a very dark future.”

At 49.9 per cent, Spain has the highest youth unemployment in the EU. And latest data from Eurostat suggests that the problem is only getting worse.Youth unemployment in the EU rose to 22.4 per cent, or 5.507 million in January 2012, up from 22.2 per cent, or 5.495 million in December 2011.

The problem is so overwhelming that EU leaders are set to discuss measures to increase youth employment at their two day summit.  But this should prove to be a gargantuan task.

What follows is a country-by-country look at just how awful Europe’s youth unemployment problem is.

Germany

Youth unemployment:
7.8%

Overall unemployment:
5.8%

Youth unemployment is down from 9 per cent in December 2010, but December 2011 figure was revised up to 7.9 per cent. Germany and France are working on new measures to cut youth unemployment, and revive economic growth in Europe.

Source: Eurostat

Austria

Youth unemployment:
8.9%

Overall unemployment:
4.0%

Austria's youth unemployment is much lower than the EU average of 22.4 per cent. Unemployment in the under-25 age group is more than twice the national average, and unemployment is higher among females than males.

Source: Eurostat

Netherlands

Youth unemployment:
9.0%

Overall unemployment:
5.0%

Netherlands' youth unemployment rate is far below the EU average, but is much higher than it was a year ago. It is also a significant uptick from the 8.6 per cent rate in December 2011. Meanwhile the male and female unemployment rates are both at 5.0 per cent.

Source: Eurostat

Malta

Youth unemployment:
13.8%

Overall unemployment:
6.5%

Malta's youth unemployment rate is up from 13.7 per cent in January 2011. The female unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent is higher than the 6.0 per cent rate among males.

Source: Eurostat

Luxembourg

Youth unemployment:
13.9%

Overall unemployment:
5.1%

Luxembourg's January youth unemployment rate is much lower than its 15.0 per cent rate the previous month, and 14.4 per cent in January 2011. It has a male unemployment rate of 3.9 per cent, which is lower than the 6.7 per cent rate for females.

Source: Eurostat

Denmark

Youth unemployment:
14.6%

Overall unemployment:
7.9%

Denmark's youth unemployment rate is up from 14.2 per cent the previous month, and 14.1 per cent in January 2011.

Source: Eurostat

Slovenia

Youth unemployment:
15.3%

Overall unemployment:
8.2%

Unemployment in Slovenia has ticked higher, with the jobless rate rising from 8.1 per cent in January 2011. Slovenia has witnessed 'in-work poverty' with a rise in temporary job contracts which largely target the youth.

Source: Eurostat

Note: Slovenia reports youth unemployment on a quarterly basis. Figures are for the third quarter of 2011.

Czech Republic

Youth unemployment:
19.8%

Overall unemployment:
6.9%

The Czech Republic's youth unemployment rate is much higher than the 16.8 per cent it reported in January 2011. Unemployment among males is at 6.1 per cent, and at 7.8 per cent, is significantly higher for females.

Source: Eurostat

Finland

Youth unemployment:
20.1%

Overall unemployment:
7.5%

Finland which has been noted for its successful schools has a stubbornly high youth unemployment rate, which is down from 20.5 per cent in January 2011, but close to the EU average of 22.4 per cent. Unemployment among females is at 6.8 per cent, and is lower than the 8.1 per cent rate among males.

Finland's youth unemployment rate is being driven up in towns that are largely dependent on one industry for jobs.

Source: Eurostat

Belgium

Youth unemployment:
21.2%

Overall unemployment:
7.4%

Belgium has posted double-digit youth unemployment since 2002. close to EU average of 22.4 per cent. The jobless rate among the under-25 age group, is nearly three times the overall unemployment rate.

Source: Eurostat

Estonia

Youth unemployment:
25.1%

Overall unemployment:
11.7%

Estonia's youth unemployment rate has surged from 20.2 per cent in January 2011, and is now above the EU average. The high unemployment rate among the under-25 demographic has been attributed to larger number of young people looking for jobs than before.

Source: Eurostat

Note: Youth unemployment data is for Q3 2011, and overall unemployment rate is for December 2011.

United Kingdom

Youth unemployment:
22.2%

Overall unemployment:
8.4%

UK youth unemployment has ticked higher from a year ago, and youth that aren't employed, in training, or studying, cost UK citizens €16 billion on average, or 0.9 per cent of GDP.

Source: Eurostat

Note: Data is for November 2011

Sweden

Youth unemployment:
22.4%

Overall unemployment:
7.6%

Sweden's youth unemployment rate is down from 22.9 per cent a month ago, and from 22.7 per cent in January 2011. Like Slovenia, Sweden has also seen an increase in 'in-work poverty', with a rise in temporary job contracts which largely target the youth.

Source: Eurostat

Romania

Youth unemployment:
23.8%

Overall unemployment:
7.2%

Romania' overall unemployment eased from 7.3 per cent in January 2011. Youth that aren't employed, in training, or studying, cost the country €1.2 billion on average every year.

Source: Eurostat

Note: Romania reports youth unemployment on a quarterly basis and youth unemployment data is for Q3 2011.

France

Youth unemployment:
23.3%

Overall unemployment:
10.0%

France's youth unemployment is in line with year ago figures. French unemployment rose to 9.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, and 2.7 million people are officially out of work. France and Germany have been in talks to introduce new measures aimed at cutting youth unemployment.

Source: Eurostat

Cyprus

Youth unemployment:
27.0%

Overall unemployment:
9.6%

Youth unemployment in Cyprus has surged from 18.8 per cent in January 2011. The jobless rate among the under-25 demographic is higher than the average EU youth unemployment rate.

Source: Eurostat

Note: Cyprus reports youth unemployment on a quarterly basis.

Hungary

Youth unemployment:
27.3%

Overall unemployment:
10.9%

The number of unemployed youth reached 78,300 in January, according to the Central Statistical Office. Hungary's youth unemployment is up from the 26.3 per cent rate in December 2011, and the 26.7 per cent in January 2011. The Hungarian government passed a plan that would no longer give benefits to people who are capable of working, and would instead employ them in community service jobs.

Source: Eurostat

Bulgaria

Youth unemployment:
28.9%

Overall unemployment:
11.5%

Bulgaria's youth unemployment is up from 27.0 per cent in December 2011, and 26.3 per cent a year ago. The male unemployment rate of 12.7 per cent is higher than the female unemployment rate of 10.2 per cent.

Source: Eurostat

Poland

Youth unemployment:
27.5%

Overall unemployment:
10.1%

Poland's unemployment rate is 0.5 percentage point (pp) higher than a month ago, and is up from 25.1 per cent a year ago. Low investment and a surge in people returning to the country after living and working abroad, is driving up the jobless rate.

Source: Eurostat

Ireland

Youth unemployment:
29.6%

Overall unemployment:
14.8%

Hit by austerity, Ireland's youth unemployment rate is much higher than the EU average of 22.4 per cent, and youth unemployment has created an emigration crisis in the country.

Ireland's youth unemployment rate is only 0.1 pp higher than a month ago, and is up 0.5 pp from a year ago. The 17.5 per cent unemployment rate among males is much higher than the 11.4 per cent rate among females.

Source: Eurostat

Latvia

Youth unemployment:
29.9%

Overall unemployment:
14.7%

Latvia's youth unemployment rate has eased from 30.8 per cent in January 2011. Youth that aren't employed, in training, or studying, shave 1.4 per cent off the country's GDP each year.

Source: Eurostat

Note: Latvia reports all unemployment data on a quarterly basis. Youth unemployment data is for Q3 2011.

Italy

Youth unemployment:
31.1%

Overall unemployment:
9.2%

Italy's youth unemployment has been above the 30 per cent mark for the fourth straight month, and is at its highest since Q3 2000.

Moreover, 20 per cent of Italians between the ages of 15 - 29 are no longer seeking higher education. Italian youth that aren't employed, in training, or studying, cost the country €26.6 billion every year.

Source: Eurostat

Portugal

Youth unemployment:
35.1%

Overall unemployment:
14.8%

Portugal's youth unemployment rate ticked up from 26.5 per cent in January 2011. The overall unemployment rate is being driven up austerity measures, lack of investment, and economic growth. A fifth of the country's graduates have emigrated.

Source: Eurostat

Lithuania

Youth unemployment:
34.4%

Overall unemployment:
14.3%

Lithuania's youth unemployment rate is up from 32.0 per cent in January 2011. The 16.2 per cent unemployment rate among males, is higher than the 12.4 per cent rate among females.

Source: Eurostat

Note: Lithuania reports all unemployment data on a quarterly basis.

Slovakia

Youth unemployment:
36.0%

Overall unemployment:
13.3%

Slovakia's youth unemployment rate has increased from 33.1 per cent in January 2011. The country needs to drive job growth, especially in the service sector, and cut the population's dependence on social subsistence if it wants to rein in youth unemployment.

Source: Eurostat

Greece

Youth unemployment:
48.1%

Overall unemployment:
19.9%

Greece has taken on punishing austerity measures to avoid default, and cuts in public spending have seen unemployment surge. The jobless rate among Greek youth has jumped from 37.8 per cent in January 2011.

Source: Helenic Statistical Authority / Eurostat


Spain

Youth unemployment:
49.9%

Overall unemployment:
23.3%

Spain has the highest youth unemployment in Europe and the jobless rate among the under-25 age group has surged from 49.3 per cent a month ago, and 44.0 per cent in January 2011. The country could lose a generation to emigration which is sure to have a devastating long-term implications for the economy.

Source: Eurostat

But how do these countries shape up overall?

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