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2015 employment review exposes wide disparities in jobs situation in the Member States

Posted by Nick Prag at 21 January 2016, 22:50 CET |
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Interesting facts emerge from what is generally a positive outlook on jobs in the EU's 2015 review of employment and social developments.

The good news is that unemployment continues to come down, as the economy slowly recovers, with more women, and more people aged over 50 working. EU efforts to bring down youth unemployment also appear to be having an effect.

Less good news is the large variation in European employment rates, from just 55 per cent in Greece to 81 per cent in Sweden. Jobless rates have gone down in countries hardest hit by the crisis, but these remain at more than 20 per cent in Spain and Greece. On the other hand, Germany's rate is as low as 5 per cent.

The report shows that large-scale use of temporary contracts does not always lead to permanent contracts. Close to 95 per cent of all temporary contracts are involuntary in In some countries like Cyprus, in Austria they are only around 9 per cent.

The jobs situation for disadvantaged groups also shows big disparities in the Member States. Youth unemployment is still over 40 per cent in Greece, Croatia and Italy. Employment rates for older workers is only 34 per cent in Greece, while it reaches 74 per cent in Sweden. And there remains a significant gap in employment between men and women.

Perhaps the report's key point is the widening divergence between EU Member States. Huge disparities still exist, in terms of economic growth, employment and other key social and labour market indicators. "These disparities", says Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, "are unacceptable because they hamper growth and erode the confidence of people in a truly 'social' Europe."

The Commission is promising to move forward on a number of fronts, including proposals for a European Pillar of Social Rights, on labour mobility and a New Skills Agenda for Europe.

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.