Uneven recovery

Employment has continued to grow in the EU (Figure 2.1).  In 2018Q2, the employment rate was at an all-time high of 68.6%. This is a considerable improvement compared to the peak of the crisis (64.1% in 2013) and also surpasses the pre-crisis level of 65.9%. For the male population, however, the past 10 years were very much a lost decade, with the employment rate only moving from 72.9% in 2008 to 73.8% in 2018. Female employment, on the other hand, stagnated during the crisis but then increased by 4.6 pp between 2013 and 2018. There was a less impressive increase in youth employment (15-24), which was still below pre-crisis levels in 2018, at 35.1%. Among older workers (55-64) the employment rate rose from 45.6% in 2008 to 58.6% in 2018, which can in part be attributed to a reduced access to early retirement schemes and a postponement of the retirement age. Workers with the lowest educational attainment levels persistently show low participation rates in the labour market, with their employment rate just above 46% in 2018, still below the pre-crisis level of 47.9%.

more information in Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 - Chapter 2 Labour market and social developments