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Youth unemployment in Europe: Causes and consequences

In the first years after leaving school, young people are exposed to unemployment to a remarkably higher degree than adults in later periods of their employment career. In addition, whether they are under risk of entering unemployment and what their chances are of exiting unemployment depend on individual characteristics (social origin, education, migration background (or not), competences and skills, health status, etc.), institutional settings (early school tracking, labour law, employment protection, etc.), and factors relating to the period of time in question (such as the business cycle or demography). As is well documented in the relevant literature, the way entry into adult life takes place influences later life-course perspectives. A main factor that aids prediction in this process is how labour market entry takes place. For instance, early unemployment experience might leave a scar in a persons labour market career and labour market outcomes (labour market position, status and/or income). What is more, other areas in people’s lives, such as health and well-being, marriage and partnership, and childbirth and forming a family, could also be affected by early experience with unemployment. In the wake of the Great Recession, both individuals’ risk of becoming unemployed and the duration of unemployment increased remarkably in most European countries. However, the extent to which the employment and life-course perspectives of young people, particularly in southern European countries, have been affected by the economic crisis and its aftermath has not yet been adequately examined. From an institutional perspective, another question would be which institutional arrangements protect young people from becoming unemployed or foster these young people’s transition into the labour market.

Edited by:
Martin Abraham (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany) and Hans Dietrich (Institute for Employment Research, Nürnberg, Germany)

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