Press release, 30 April 2009

Eurofound publishes its European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) for the 1st quarter 2009

Job losses outnumber job creations by almost three to one

(DUBLIN, IRELAND) The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) recorded a total of 721 cases of restructuring in the European Union between 1 January 2009 and 31 March 2009, involving some 220,000 announced job losses and 90,000 announced job gains. The sectors most affected by job loss were financial intermediation, auto manufacture and the retail trade. However, in terms of job creation, retail, and hotels and restaurants figured strongly, in particular discount stores and fast food outlets, which seem to be benefitting from the downturn.

Evidence that the global recession is worsening and deepening is showing up in the European Restructuring Monitor. Growth forecasts continue to be revised downwards while predictions regarding the inflection point marking a potential recovery of the global economy are increasingly being moved back to 2010, in some cases later. For the first quarter of 2009, the ERM quarterly has recorded the highest number of announced job losses since it started monitoring restructuring in the EU in 2002.

During the first quarter of 2009, 219,390 announced job losses were announced across the EU. The UK recorded the highest number of announced job losses (63,314), followed by Poland (38,975), Germany (17,461) and France (11,779). For the third quarter in a row, auto manufacture is the sector with the greatest reported ERM job loss (23,584 jobs). Other sectors with large restructuring-related job loss were retail (21,740) and financial intermediation (16,778) and machinery manufacture (16,432).

Unemployment has also spiked up very sharply in other Member States, notably in the three Baltic Member States (up between 6-9 percentage points over the last twelve months) and Ireland (5 p.p.). While the changes are less dramatic in remaining Member States, data for the most recent three months confirm that unemployment is increasing in nearly all Member States though at a slower pace in member states such as Germany, France, Austria and the Netherlands where there has been widespread recourse to short-time working, partial unemployment and other forms of working time flexibility.

One small ray of light in recent ERM data is that levels of announced job creation have grown in each of the last two quarters and are now nearly double the level they were at their recent low point in the third quarter 2008. Of the 89,625 announced job gains in the previous quarter, a significant proportion were in bargain retailers and chain restaurants whose fortunes appear to prosper as those of the economy around them deteriorates.

In its latest edition, the quarterly also looks at collective redundancy notification data  as an alternative data source on restructuring and presents some data from a selection of member states (SE, SK, HU).

Download the full report

For further information, contact

  • John Hurley, research officer and author of the report, at email:, telephone: +353-1-204 3209, and mobile: +353-86-8340578.
  • Måns Mårtensson, press officer, at email or telephone +353-1-204 3124 or mobile +353-876-593 507.

Note to the editor
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound, is a tripartite EU body, whose role is to provide key actors in social policy making with findings, knowledge and advice drawn from comparative research. The Foundation was established by Council Regulation EEC No 1365/75 of 26 May 1975. Eurofound is located in Dublin, Ireland.

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