- Statistics Illustrated
- Indicator framework
- Strategies and policies
Sustainable socio-economic development is a core element of the European Union's Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS).
The strategy sets out the objective of promoting a prosperous, innovative, knowledge-rich, competitive and eco-efficient economy, which provides high living standards and full and high-quality employment throughout the European Union.
Key trends (2015 monitoring)
The trends observed in the economic dimension of the sustainable development show mostly favourable picture for the EU.
- Between 2000 and 2014 real GDP per capita in the EU increased by more than 13 %. Growth was more pronounced before the economic crisis. In the short term between 2009 and 2014 the EU economy grew at an average annual rate of 0.7 %.
- Between 2002 and 2014 investment (as a share of GDP) declined in the EU.
- Disposable household income decreased in particular in the Member States hardest hit by the economic crisis. The rest of the EU households experienced a continuous improvement in their disposable income in the period between 2003 and 2013.
- Since 2000 the EU household saving rate dropped moderately by 1.4 percentage points and was strongly subdued in 2014 compared with 2009.
- Labour productivity increased almost continuously between 2000 and 2013. Some gains were reversed between 2007 and 2009 as a result of the economic downturn, but in 2010 labour productivity rebounded to its pre-crisis level and has continued to grow.
- Energy intensity in the EU has improved. It declined by 15.9 % between 2002 and 2013 as a result of absolute decoupling of gross inland energy consumption from economic growth.
- R&D expenditure as a share of GDP increased slightly between 2000 and 2013.
- In terms of éco-innovation activities, the majority of Member States performed lower in 2013 compared with 2010.
- Between 2002 and 2014 the EU employment rate rose moderately by 2.5 percentage points. Short-term developments in the labour market have been much less favourable. The economic recession and prolonged labour market stagnation held back employment between 2008 and 2013.
- In 2014, the share of young people neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET rate) was equivalent to its 2009 level of 12.4 % and slightly lower than its 2002 level of 13 %.
- The overall unemployment rate in the EU followed a trend of decreasing gradually before the crisis and increasing sharply afterwards. In 2013 EU unemployment reached a record high of 10.9 % but decreased slightly in 2014.
More information on the evaluation of changes for the EU Sustainable Development Indicators (EU SDIs) on socio-economic development is available on Statistics Explained: Sustainable development - socio-economic development.