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Record high employment rates in EU: review

05 October 2017
by eub2 -- last modified 05 October 2017

The EU's latest report on the employment and social situation in the EU shows record high employment rates and signs of improvement for youth employment.


Employment in the EU continues to grow at a consistent pace and in almost all Member States, says the report. Employment increased by 1.5 % in the EU and 1.6% in the euro area in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

There are 3.5 million and 2.4 million more people employed in the EU and euro area compared to last year. This means that 235.4 million people are now employed in the EU. This is the highest level ever recorded. Compared to the third quarter of 2014, this corresponds to 8 million and5.6 million more people employed in the EU and euro area respectively.

EU employment increase over the past four years has particularly benefited the younger generation. While youth unemployment is still too high in the EU, the rate decreased steadily and faster than overall unemployment: it now stands at 16.9 %,reaching a level lower than in 2008.

The Quarterly Review also shows that the EU's economy continues its expansion in all Member States with a growth of 2.4 % in the EU and 2.3 % in the euro area over the last year. This also translated in an improvement of EU households' financial situation with greater income from work, while the increase in social benefits came to a halt. Nearly all Member States continued to see growth in household income between the first quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.

Further figures on the labour market confirm the improved health of the EU economy:

  • Unemployment rate in the EU and euro area has continued its steady decline since mid-2013 in almost all Member States. In August 2017, it decreased to 7.6 % in the EU and 9.1 % in the euro area, a yearly reduction of 0.9 percentage points in both cases. The rate recorded in August 2017 was the lowest in the EU since November 2008.
  • Long-term unemployment rate, which has been decreasing for three years, declined by further 0.5 percentage points in the year to the first quarter of 2017. In almost all Member States, long-term unemployment is declining. But the share of long-term unemployment in total unemployment is still high, at around 45 %.
  • The number of employees with permanent contracts grew by 1.4 % in the year to the first quarter of 2017. This represents an increase of 2.2 million employees, which is four times more than the increase in temporary contracts (500.000, 1.5 % yearly growth).

The Quarterly Review on Employment and Social Developments in Europe provides an overview of recent social and labour market developments in the EU. It looks at short-term changes in GDP and employment trends.

Quarterly Report on Employment and Social Developments in Europe