Backed by a robust economic growth, employment in the EU continued to rise more strongly than expected in the third quarter of 2017, while unemployment figures declined further according to the latest Quarterly Review on Employment and Social Developments in Europe.
Compared to a year before, EU employment rose by 1.7%. This corresponds to an additional 4 million people employed, of which 2.7 million in the euro area. Permanent jobs and full-time employment were the main contributors to this expansion.
Between the third quarter of 2016 and 2017, the number of employees with permanent contracts grew by 2.8 million. This increase is three times higher than the rise in temporary contracts (900.000).
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: "Growth is back in Europe. Employment in the EU reached the highest level ever recorded with more than 236 million people in jobs. And unemployment is steadily declining. We should make the most of this positive economic momentum and deliver on new and more effective rights for citizens that we laid down in the European Pillar of Social Rights: fair working conditions, equal access to the labour market and decent social protection. Now is the time to make sure all citizens and workers can benefit from these positive evolutions on the labour market."
The number of full-time workers surged by about 3 million, up to 181 million, while part-time workers increased by about 300.000 up to 42.7 million.
The EU employment rate of 20-64 years olds has increased consistently over the past three years, standing at 72.3% in the third quarter of 2017, the highest rate ever reached. Nonetheless, large disparities among Member States remain. National employment rates ranged from 58% in Greece to 82% in Sweden.
The report also shows that unemployment in the EU is approaching pre-crisis levels at a steady pace. Unemployment has receded by around 8.6 million people since its peak recorded in April 2013 and remained below 18 million people in December 2017, the lowest level since November 2008.