Onwards, the group outside employment, education and training will be referred interchangeably to as the “out-group” to prevent confusion with the acronym “NEET” used to describe youth not in employment, education or training.

We focus on 2,9 million people between the ages of 18 and 66 years old in 2015, and until 2020. 8 per cent (222 200 persons) were classified in November all 6 years as not in employment, education or training. Half of this group were between 50 and 61 years old in 2015. In 2020, 77 per cent of them received disability benefits.

Some statuses defined as outside employment, education and training are more temporary than others. Those who are registered as unemployed are faster to be registered as working, studying or in training, compared to for example people receiving disability benefits due to it being a more permanent benefit. More rapid transitions from being in the out-group is also applicable for people we cannot identify in any registry covering employment, education or benefits and hence are classified with an unknown status. The youngest age group are most often registered as unemployed and registered with this so-called unknown status. Therefore, 26 per cent of those not part of the out-group for only 1 year in the period 2015–2020 was between the ages of 18 and 24 in 2015.

When we examine people not in education, employment and training in November of the individual year, only between 20 and 25 per cent had a job during the year. Most commonly, these individuals were registered as unemployed or with so-called unknown status, in other words the more temporary statuses.

The studied group who had a job during the year have a higher level of education than the rest of the out-group, but lower than the labour market in general. Jobs held by people in the out-group are more often part-time jobs and in occupations with lower requirements for education. The mentioned occupations are typical sales and service occupations, and typically found in industries such as retail, accommodation and catering and health and social services. These are not among the industries with the highest earnings levels in the labour market – rather, they are more often found in the lower end of the distribution. In addition, there is a far greater proportion of part-time jobs in those industries, which people in our study more often are found in.

Persons belonging to the out-group for 1 and 2 years had median incomes after tax well below the median for those who had never belonged to the out-group, 23 and 36 per cent, respectively. The lower income levels in the out-group is mainly caused by the lack of labour market income.  Although those belonging to the out-group for several years had only 54–57 per cent of the income for those never in the out-group, the negative impact on income levels from being outside seems to decrease by the number of years belonging to the out-group. A high share of those being in the out-group for many years receive health related benefits which ensures a minimum level of income.

From 16 to 19 per cent of persons belong to the out-group annually, are also in the upper half of the income distribution. Approximately 3 per cent are in the upper decile each year. This indicates reasonable economic welfare for parts of the out-group. On the other hand, from 2,5 to 3,6 per cent of the annual out-groups apparently have no economic activity. Some are probably supported in households, but we also find from 3 500 to 7 900 persons in households with no registered income.