New figures show urgent action needed to avoid another “lost generation”

New figures show urgent action needed to avoid another “lost generation”

Eurostat figures show that across the EU youth unemployment in July remained critically high, even as countries started to emerge from lockdown. The average rate of unemployment for under-25s in the EU stood at 17%, confirming a trend that has seen the number of young people out of work increase by almost 200,000 since the start of this year.

Young people just entering the labour market or in unstable jobs are most vulnerable to the hiring freezes and redundancies linked to Covid-19, which risks creating another lost generation.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“This situation has been months in the making. This is why we socialists and democrats, rapidly demanded and obtained the SURE instrument to support national unemployment schemes. Member states must now ensure that all citizens are eligible for social safety nets, regardless of age.

“The smooth recovery promised by some is failing to materialise for many young people across Europe. Every effort must now be made to reach agreement so the ambitious Recovery Plan and Multiannual Financial Framework can be quickly adopted and implemented. This way we can move ahead with national and European measures to support young people as they enter the labour market. We especially welcome the necessary proposals made by Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit.”

Evidence has shown that young people who join the labour market during a recession can face a decade of reduced career opportunities, as a result of struggling to find a job, or of having to take one that does not match their qualifications.

SURE (Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency) was initiated by progressive European commissioners Paolo Gentiloni and Nicolas Schmit at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis to support workers. It will provide up to €100 billion to facilitate short-time work schemes and prevent job losses during this period of economic uncertainty.

This initiative builds on work the PES undertook in the last crisis to prevent the emergence of a lost generation of young people. This includes our Youth Guarantee which, since its set-up in 2014, has provided 24 million under-25s with an offer of employment, education, apprenticeship or training within four months of finishing their course or losing their job.