Youth unemployment trends
Youth unemployment rates are generally much higher, even double or more than double, than unemployment rates for all ages. As for the rate for the total population, the youth unemployment rate in the EU-28 sharply declined between 2005 and 2007, reaching its minimum value (15.1 %) in the first quarter 2008. The economic crisis, however, severely hit the young. From the second quarter of 2008, the youth unemployment rate has taken an upward trend peaking in 23.6 % in the first quarter 2013, before receding to 23.1 % at the end of the year. The EU-28 youth unemployment rate was systematically higher than in the euro area between 2000 and mid-2007. Since then and until the third quarter 2010 these two rates were very close. Afterwards the indicator moved more sharply in the EA-18 than in the EU-28, first downwards until mid-2011, then upwards until the end of 2012 (see also Figure 5). In the middle of 2012 the euro area youth unemployment rate overtook the EU-28 rate, and the gap increased until the end of the year. The gap became even larger in the second part of 2013, when the rate for the euro area went down less than the rate for the EU-28.
High youth unemployment rates do reflect the difficulties faced by young people in finding jobs. However, this does not necessarily mean that the group of unemployed persons aged between 15 and 24 is large, as many young people are studying full-time and are therefore neither working nor looking for a job (so they are not part of the labour force which is used as the denominator for calculating the unemployment rate). For this reason, youth unemployment ratios are also calculated, according to a somewhat different concept: the unemployment ratio calculates the share of unemployed for the whole population. Table 1 shows that youth unemployment ratios in the EU are much lower than youth unemployment rates; they have however also risen since 2008 due to the effects of the crisis on the labour market.