08 Oct
European Union Labour Market Eurostat

EU labour market in the second quarter 2020: total labour market slack up to 14%

EU labour market in the second quarter 2020. Total labour market slack up to 14%, according to the last figures released by Eurostat.

Throughout the second quarter 2020, the labour market across the European Union (EU) was affected by
COVID-19 measures taken by Member States.

Employment and unemployment as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) concept are, in this particular situation, not sufficient to describe all the developments taking place in the labour market. In this phase of the crisis, active measures to contain employment losses led to temporary absences from work rather than dismissals.

In addition, individuals could not search for work or were not available due to the containment measures, thus not counting as unemployed according to the ILO concept.

In this release, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, is publishing a set of additional seasonally adjusted quarterly indicators which help to capture the most recent movements on the labour market in the EU Member States.

These include total labour market slack, which comprises all persons who have an unmet need for employment, absences from work as well as an index of total actual hours worked in the main job.

Labour market slack up by 1.2 percentage points, employment down by 1.0 percentage points

In the second quarter of 2020, 187.3 million persons in the EU were employed.

The EU seasonally adjusted employment rate for people aged 20-64 stood at 72.0%, down by 1.0 pp from 73.0% in the first quarter 2020.

This has been the sharpest quarter-on-quarter decline since the beginning of the time series in 2000. 13.1 million persons were unemployed.

The EU seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.5%, up from 6.3% in the first quarter 2020.

At the same time, seasonally adjusted total labour market slack in the EU, consisting in unmet demand for labour, amounted to 29.6 million persons, which represented 14.0% of the extended labour force in the second quarter 2020, up from 12.8% in the first quarter 2020.

This has been the highest quarter-on-quarter increase since the beginning of the time series in 2008.

Labour market slack increased most in Ireland, Italy and Austria

Overall labour market slack increased in all EU Member States in the second quarter 2020 compared to the first
quarter 2020, except in Latvia (-0.6 pp).

The highest increases were reported in Ireland (+3.4 pp), Italy and Austria (both +2.6 pp), and Spain (+2.4 pp). Employment fell in all countries with the exception of Luxembourg (+0.6 pp).

The highest drops in employment were recorded in Estonia (-3.3 pp), Slovenia (-2.2 pp) and Spain (-2.1 pp), and the lowest in Croatia (-0.3 pp), Latvia and Poland (both -0.4 pp).

By: Estela Martín

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