Despite EU and Member State policy efforts to support young people in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, young people were also hardest hit by job loss during the COVID-19 crisis. Overrepresented in the sectors most impacted by pandemic restrictions and more likely to work on temporary contracts or part time, 12% of 18- to 29-year-olds who responded to at least two rounds of the Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey reported that they had lost their job, with 12% of students also facing unemployment
- Unemployed or inactive young people were most likely to experience housing insecurity than other groups during the pandemic (17% in spring 2021) and reported difficulty making ends meet (43%), as well as having no savings (39%); however, over half of young people reported living with their parents, which provided some security. Unless young people can participate actively in education and the labour market there is a high risk of their long-term disengagement with serious implications for their and society’s future.
- The COVID-19 crisis had a disproportionate impact on young people’s life satisfaction and mental well-being compared to older groups. This improved between spring and summer 2020 when lockdowns eased but dropped to its lowest point in spring 2021 when restrictions and school closures returned, contributing to a decrease in life satisfaction and mental well-being where nearly two-thirds of young people were at risk of depression.
- Young people’s trust in institutions overall also remained higher than other groups despite being hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis in terms of mental health and employment. It will be important for policymakers to build on this social capital and ensure investment in youth remains at the top of the EU policy agenda.
- A wide range of measures were introduced to support young people during the pandemic. These included the reinforced European Youth Guarantee, national initiatives to keep young people in education, and measures to reduce barriers to existing financial support and social protection specifically for young people; however, many of these policy responses were temporary. To ensure greater resilience in future crises, it will be crucial for policymakers to prioritise long-term measures for young people, such as permanent improvements in access to work and apprenticeships and measures to increase job security
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