Currently, the labour market is going through irreversible changes. The start of XXI century was marked by technological change where a lot of jobs disappeared multiple new vacancies popped up. It was underlined by the Covid pandemic. One of the groups that became mostly impacted were youths. They remain vulnerable to the disadvantageous trends in the labour market. They are just kicking off their career having little to zero experience and at the same time big aspirations for the future.
In the paper I analyze Spain, Hungary, Italy and Poland from 2016 to 2020. The purpose is to analyze the changes in the youth labour market, taking the Covid-19 pandemic as the main perspective. All of these countries have taken some actions to help youths in this unprecedented situation. The main program in Spain was the Youth Guarantee with the main focus on developing youths’ skills. In Hungary, the National Youth Strategy focused on three pillars: strengthening social integration, empowering youths and promoting youth organizations. One of the helping programs in Italy was a job retention scheme also for temporary workers. In Poland additional income was implemented with a focus on people performing temporary jobs. The data source used in the paper was Labour Force Survey. The created labour market indicators which were analyzed involved employment and unemployment rates from various perspectives. The main research method was Principal Component Analysis to simplify the data structure and reveal the hidden patterns. The Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin test was conducted which proved the feasibility to use this method. The existing set of variables was transformed to the new, uncorrelated variables that are called principal components.
The outcome of this analysis is two synthetic indicators which describe some features of the youth labour market. The first component, which is particularly low in Italy and Spain, has a common trend in the four countries considered: increasing until 2019 and then declining. The second component shows a sharp decline in 2020 for all four countries. The trend in the two components indicates a strong worsening of the employment prospects for youth as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, in fact, a reduction both in the demand and in the supply of youth labour is observed.