Youth unemployment rates are generally much higher than unemployment rates for the broader population. The on-going economic crisis has further aggravated this situation. Between 2007 and 2013, the average youth unemployment rate in the EU (for those aged 15-24) reached record highs, jumping from 15.9% to 23.7% – more than twice the overall unemployment rate, which stood at 9.5% at the end of 2013. However, economic recovery seems to be gaining ground, and recent figures show a slight reduction in youth unemployment to 20.5% in 2015. Nevertheless, some EU countries still experience difficulties. The hardest hit in 2015 were Spain (53.2%), Greece (52.4%), Croatia (45.5%),
Italy (42.7%), Cyprus (36%), and Portugal (34.7%) (see Figure 2).