3.1 General context
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As mentioned in the Cyprus National Reform Programme 2022 (p.8), Cyprus, like most states, is in a highly challenging period following the outbreak of the global pandemic. The Cyprus economy has been in the face of economic recovery from the pandemic, starting already as of the 2nd semester of 2021. In numbers, economic activity in 2021 expanded by 5.5%, fully recovering the lost ground of the recession in 2020 (-5.0%). However, given the continuous crisis in Ukraine and the imposition of significant sanctions to Russia by the US, UK and the EU, there is currently considerable geopolitical instability and uncertainty. Some of the sanctions are expected to have a direct or an indirect impact of the Cyprus economy, such as increased cost of energy, lower tourist arrivals, etc. The improvement of the quality of the Active Labour Market Policies, particularly for young people is included in the main reform priorities presented in the National Reform Programme.
Labour market conditions continued to be pretty similar during the period between 2019-2021 . The Youth unemployment rate in Cyprus (15-24 years) decreased in 2021 to 17,1% from 18,2% in 2020, reflecting a decrease of male youth unemployment rate to 17,8% from 24,4%, overcoming the increase of female youth unemployment rate to 16,3% from 12,3%. As regards the proportion of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) for the age group 15-29, this was 15.4% in 2021 (Eurostat ). Lastly, the youth unemployment for the age group from 15 to 29 years old is estimated at 14,2% in 2021 (Eurostat), while the youth long-term unemployment rate (12 months or longer) for the age group of 15-29 years old is estimated at 3,9% (Eurostat).
As announced on the official website of the Statistical Service of Cyprus, there were 16.132 registered unemployed people by the end of December 2022. In particular, according to the monthly statistics for 2022, there were 84 unemployed under 20 years old, 758 unemployed between 20-24 years old, 1.767 unemployed aged between 25-29 years old and 4272 unemployed aged between 30-39 years old, resulting to a total of 4.272. This indicates that young people represent a significant part of the unemployed population in the country, even though there is great improvement since the previous year.
In Cyprus, every young person from the age of 14 has the right to work, as defined by the Law on the Protection of Young Persons in the Employment. (Ο Περί Προστασίας των Νέων κατά την Απασχόληση Νόμος). However, some young people still find it hard to get a job, especially young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs). After the financial crisis, Cyprus continues its efforts to tackle unemployment and modernise and enhance its Public Employment Services (PES) [Δημόσια Υπηρεσία Απασχόλησης (ΔΥΑ)] through the strengthening of its human and technical capacity and also exploring the potential to improve efficiency in service provision, the performance of PES, as well as reinforcing outreach and activation support for young people who are NEETs. At the same time, a significant effort to encourage young people to be engaged in entrepreneurship is put by the government.