In a news release on March 31st, Eurostat reported that workers in the age group 15-29 took the hardest hits when governments imposed economic shutdowns during the recent pandemic:
The employment rate in the EU among young people (aged 15-29) in the third quarter of 2020 was -2.8 percentage points compared with the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019.
By the third quarter of 2021, employment levels were almost restored, running only -0.1 percentage points below the same period in 2019. The improvement reflects the return of macroeconomic activity across the EU to pre-pandemic levels. However, the employment situation for young workers differs across the union:
- Estonia, Poland, Czechia, Portugal and Romania remain 3-6 percentage points below 2019;
- France, Ireland, and Slovenia have youth employment levels 2-6 percentage points above 2019 levels.
The actual employment rates for young workers varies drastically across the EU. Four member states have an employment rate for the age group above 80%: Netherlands (82.7%), Sweden (81.0%), Germany (80.4%), and Czechia (80.2%). Five member states had a youth employment rate below 70%: Spain (68.0%), Croatia (67.9%), Romania (67.3%), and Greece and Italy (63.3%).
On average, the 27 member-state European Union had a 73.6% employment rate for the young workforce. The euro zone averaged 73.1%.
Three non-EU countries reported high employment rates: Iceland (83.2%), Switzerland (82.0%) and Norway (80.5%). Only one non-EU country reported an employment rate below the EU average: 67.2% of the Serbian workforce aged 15-29 was employed.