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Quarterly Labour Market Review – Spring 2011

30/03/2011 Cover of the Quaterly Labour Market Monitor

According to the new Quarterly Labour Market Review, the deterioration in the EU labour market resulting from the economic crisis, which has been easing since mid 2010, has at last gradually given way to moderate increases in employment.

However, the marked impact of the crisis on young people, migrants and the low-skilled is still evident. Moreover, the slight progress in employment is mainly due to part-time and temporary jobs. Part-time employment had been growing during the crisis and it has contributed to cushioning the fall in full-time employment. Moreover, permanent contracts are still decreasing while temporary contracts started to gain some ground in the second quarter of 2010, especially for prime-age workers.

Year-on-year growth in hourly labour costs increased slightly to 1.9 % in the fourth quarter of 2010 in nominal terms, reflecting an increase in growth in wages and salaries to 2 %. Nominal labour cost growth remained moderate in most Member States though, with a limited impact on unit labour costs. Hours worked have also risen, reflecting the recovery in industry and retail trade activities. Restructuring reported in the European Restructuring Monitor slowed down further in the first two months of 2011 with first indications of job creation in some sectors. A special focus in this review analyses the case of the construction sector.

Confidence on labour markets in the EU has continued to broadly improve, albeit at a slower pace and with divergences between Member States and sectors. Firms and consumers are becoming more optimistic about the outlook for employment and unemployment. The economic recovery remains fragile in the EU and conditions in the labour market are generally set to remain weak and divergent across Member States. A special section on the social climate reports that in many respects people do not feel any significant improvement in terms of social situation, as compared to 2010, though this was still better than 2009.

This edition of the Quarterly Labour Market Review takes a closer look at the labour market situations in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom.