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The Luxembourgish labour market is characterised by its large number of cross-border commuters living in the neighbouring countries (France, Belgium, Germany) and working in Luxembourg (about 70% of the workforce). The number of newly created jobs has increased during the past years (from 264 000 in 2000 to 395 200 in 2014). Most of these jobs require high qualifications (Hury et al., 2015).
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp economic downturn and an increase of unemployment rates in Luxembourg. Young people are disproportionately affected. The unemployment rate among young people (under 25 years of age) increased from 17.5% in the second quarter of 2019 to 23.3% in the second quarter of 2020. The financial crisis of 2008 led to an interim increase in overall unemployment (2.2% in 2000; 5.6% in 2017) and also within the young population (6.4% in 2000, 15.4% in 2017) (Eurostat, 2017). Compared to other European countries, the current unemployment rate of the overall population is rather low, whereas for the group of young people it is relatively high (Eurostat, 2017).The increase in the overall population is much lower (from 4.3% up to 5.1%; 25 to 74 years of age) (Statec, 2020).
The significant difference between the overall unemployment rate for the population and the youth unemployment rate indicates that the transition from the education system into employment represents a critical phase for many young people in Luxembourg, it can be expected that the pandemic will aggrevate the situation. This is particularly true for young people with poor qualifications. These are at increased risk of becoming unemployed (MENJE & UL, 2015).
In Luxembourg, there is a strong tradition of social peace. Social problems are usually resolved within the framework of wide-ranging consultation between the social partners, in the form of a Tripartite Coordination Committee. This committee brings together representatives from the government (minister of Finance, minister of the Economy, minister of Labour and Employment) employers (Chamber of Commerce, trades) and labour (trade unions).
In the domain of employment and labour market policy (under the responsibility of the ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy), people under 25 years of age are defined as 'young people'.
This definition differs from the characterisation of the age group 'young people' in the 2016 youth law: persons no longer attending primary education or special schools who are younger than 30 years (see: 1.1 Target population of youth policy).