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Labour markets

Studying labour markets is important because they are vital to the competitiveness of the EU economy, today and in the future. DG ECFIN is responsible for carrying out economic analysis and evaluation at both the micro and macro levels, and for providing policy advice on EU labour markets. It monitors and analyses labour-market and labour-cost developments, labour taxation and reforms of labour-market institutions.

In this way, DG ECFIN contributes to the assessment of the appropriateness and effectiveness of EU policies in labour markets and social security systems, within the framework of the multilateral surveillance related to the Growth and Jobs strategy (Lisbon Strategy).

The focus is on:

  • Labour-market issues, including wages, labour taxation and financial incentives to work (tax and benefit systems);

  • Labour-market reforms, particularly assessment of the overall impact of reforms on macroeconomic performance. For example, their impact on adjustment capacity, and their likely contribution to raising labour utilisation and improving economic resilience.

In both areas, the work consists of regular surveillance/monitoring and assessment of developments in all Member States. The DG also produces ad hoc studies and analyses specific themes to contribute to shaping EU policy discussions and recommendations on labour-market policies.

In order to develop an effective framework for the surveillance of labour markets, DG ECFIN has established an extensive database (LABREF) that describes the main reforms implemented since 2000. This database was created in co-operation with experts from Member States who are members of the Labour Market Working Group, attached to the Economic Policy Committee.

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