Romania ranks first in the EU on number of young people who neither study nor work

More than a tenth (11.7%) of young people (15-29 years old) in the European Union were not employed – in education or training, the so-called NEET – in 2022, according to data published on Friday by Eurostat. Romania is the EU champion in this chapter, followed by Italy and Greece, while the Netherlands has the fewest unemployed youth.

In 2022, more than one in ten (11.7%) young people aged 15 to 29 in the EU were neither in employment nor education or training (NEET), indicating a decrease of 1.4 percentage points (pp) compared with 2021.

During the last decade, there was a significant decrease in the share of NEET young adults. In 2012, the EU recorded a rate of 16.0%, which peaked in 2013 (16.1%) and then started a steady decrease. An exception occurred in 2020, when the indicator reached 13.8% during the pandemic (from 12.6% in 2019), but since then, it continued its decreasing trend, reaching 11.7% in 2022.

Reducing this rate is one of the targets of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The goal is to lower the rate of NEET young people aged 15-29 to 9% in 2030.

Across EU countries, there were wide variations in 2022 when looking at the NEET rates for the age group 15-29. The proportion of NEET in the EU ranged from 4.2% in the Netherlands to a share almost 5 times higher in Romania (19.8%).

Data show that, in 2022, a third of the EU members were already below the 2030 target of 9%, namely the Netherlands (4.2%), Sweden (5.7%), Malta (7.2%), Luxembourg (7.4%), Denmark (7.9%), Portugal (8.4%), Slovenia (8.5%), Germany (8.6%) and Ireland (8.7%).
More young women than men neither employed nor in education

In most EU members, there were differences between the shares of NEET young women and men. In 2022, 13.1% of young women aged 15–29 in the EU were NEETs, while the corresponding share among young men was 10.5%.

The lowest NEET rates for young women and young men were both in the Netherlands: 3.8% for young men and 4.6% for young women.

In contrast, the highest NEET rate for men was recorded in Italy (17.7%), with the highest for women recorded in Romania (25.4%).

In four EU countries, the shares of NEET young women were lower than the associated share of men: Luxembourg (6.9% women vs 7.9% men), Finland (8.8% vs 10.3%), Belgium (9.1% vs 9.3%) and Estonia (9.2% vs 11.9%).


educationemploymentEUEuropean UnionEurostatfirstNEETRomaniayoung people
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