Living and Working in Europe 2014: Europe on a slow road to recovery

Europe is on a slow road to recovery, with job gains and job losses balancing out each other for the first time since the global financial crisis struck. There has been a steady decline in job loss since the second half of 2012, and fewer jobs are being lost due to offshoring, outsourcing or relocation. However, the future is not all bright, as there has been are marked increase in job loss due to bankruptcy or closure, pointing to rising credit constraints for troubled companies.

These were some of the findings with regards to employment and developments in the labour market in 2014, as highlighted by the newly released 'Living and Working in Europe 2014' report. Although economic recovery has been slow, and overall decreases in unemployment in Europe have been marginal, the report shows that the labour market has changed significantly in Europe since the crisis.

Our labour market is ageing, with employment increasing among the over 45s and decreasing among the under 45s. There has also been a decrease in the number of permanent full-time jobs, with new jobs more likely to be part-time, both in the public and private sectors. Although employment in the public sector has increased by around 4% since 2008, while employment in the EU has declined by 2.6% in the same period, there has been siginificant restructuring in public administration, resulting in a loss of 800,000 net jobs in this area in the period from 2008 to 2013.

Manufacturing and construction continue to be the sectors experiencing the most job losses, and as a result men have experienced more job losses than women, further narrowing the gender employment gap. Job losses since the crisis have also been concentrated among those with a low to medium level of educational attainment, however the report highlights that this cannot continue indefinitely as there will most likely be an increase in demand for low-end personal service jobs as our population ages.

Finally, although youth unemployment began to gradually decrease in 2014, Europe's young people are now most at risk of poverty and social exclusion. The economic and social gap between young people and those aged 65 widened during the crisis and is continuing to grow as Europe makes its way towards recovery.

For further information see the 'Employment in Europe in 2014' chapter in the 'Living and Working in Europe 2014' report.

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