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Statistics Explained, your guide to European statistics. Statistics Explained is an official Eurostat website presenting statistical topics in an easily understandable way. Together, the articles make up an encyclopedia of European statistics for everyone, completed by a statistical glossary clarifying all terms used and by numerous links to further information and the latest data and metadata, a portal for occasional and regular users.
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- Unemployment statistics
- Migration and migrant population statistics
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Labour market statistics are at the heart of many EU policies following the introduction of an employment chapter into the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997. The employment rate, in other words the proportion of the working age population that is in employment, is considered to be a key social indicator for analytical purposes when studying developments within labour markets.
Main statistical findings
Employment rates by sex, age and educational attainment
In 2013, the EU-28 employment rate for persons aged 15 to 64, as measured by the EU’s labour force survey (EU LFS), stood at 64.1 %. The EU-28 employment rate peaked in 2008 at 65.7 % and decreased during successive years to stand at 64.0 % in 2010. This decrease during the global financial and economic crisis — a total fall of 1.7 percentage points — was halted in 2011 when there was a small increase in the EU-28 employment rate, to stand at 64.2 %, after which it fell by 0.1 percentage points, remaining at 64.1 % since 2012 — see Table 1. Among the EU Member States, employment rates in 2013 reached highs in the range of 72 % to 74 % in Austria, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, peaking at 74.4 % in Sweden. At the other end of the scale, employment rates were below 60 % in eight of the EU-28 Member States, with the lowest rates being recorded in Croatia (49.2 %) and Greece (49.3 %) — see Figure 1.
Between the start of the financial and economic crisis and 2013 (the latest data available), there were considerable differences in the performances of the individual labour markets. While the overall employment rate for the EU-28 in 2013 remained 1.6 percentage points below its level of 2008, there were nine EU Member States which reported an increase in their respective rates. The biggest gains were recorded in Malta (up 5.3 percentage points) and Germany (3.2 points), while Luxembourg, Hungary and the Czech Republic each reported gains of more than 1 percentage point. By contrast, the Greek employment rate fell from 61.9 % in 2008 to just below 50 % in 2013. There were also considerable reductions — of at least 5 percentage points —between 2008 and 2013 for the employment rates of Spain, Cyprus, Croatia, Portugal, Ireland, Denmark and Slovenia.
Employment rates are generally lower among women and older workers. In 2013, the employment rate for men stood at 69.4 % in the EU-28, as compared with 58.8 % for women. A longer-term comparison shows that while the employment rate for men in 2013 was below its corresponding level 10 years earlier (70.3 % in 2003), there was a marked increase in the proportion of women in employment — rising 4.0 percentage points from 54.8 % in 2003 — see Table 2.More ...