Europe’s ‘lost generation’ costs $200 billion per year and growing

There’s a serious and growing problem in Europe among the under thirty year olds who are not working. In what is referred to as not in employment, education or training (known as Neets) the financial cost is enormous, but as we know, the financial costs are only part of the problem.

Youth unemployment in France is in the mid twenties but it’s considerably more serious in Greece and Spain, where the rate is at least twice as much. In all likelihood the number is only going to get worse in the coming years before it improves. There are no easy answers and with austerity, it’s only more cruel.

This is not a matter of kids not wanting to work, but a structural problem where the work doesn’t exist. Adults in the prime of their careers are struggling with historically high unemployment rates but many under-30 years olds will struggle for years to settle into work. Besides growing up without any opportunity and the social system costs, there is also going to be a significant loss of income generated by this generation for the state.

The Guardian:

“The consequences of a lost generation are not merely economic,” the report warns, “but are societal, with the risk of young people opting out of democratic participation in society.”

The number of young adults in work across 26 member states is the lowest on record, the report’s authors found. Those in employment were working fewer hours and in less secure jobs. Last year 42% of young working Europeans were in temporary employment, up from just over a third a decade ago. A total of 30%, or 5.8 million young adults, were in part-time employment – an increase since 2001 of nearly nine percentage points.

Since the global downturn in 2008, there has been a 28% increase in associated Neet costs across the EU, with Italy facing an annual bill of €32.6bn a year, France €22bn, and the UK €18bn. At the start of this month the International Labour Organisation reported that worldwide, young people were three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and urged the G20 to look for “new approaches”.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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