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The EU labour market is gradually recovering and, for the first time since 2011, GDP, employment and household incomes are growing. However, long-term unemployment is still increasing and the situation of households with low incomes has not improved.
These are some of the main conclusions of the European Commission's latest Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review.
The Review also highlights persistent challenges for women in terms of unemployment and under-employment and provides an update on recent trends in worker mobility, confirming higher employment rates for mobile workers and their increasingly higher levels of education.
Among recent positive signs, the Quarterly Review points out that jobs are being created in the private sector, mainly in services, and unemployment continues to fall, even if moderately. However, current employment levels (with about 224 million employed persons) are still below their pre-crisis level (of about 230 million employed persons in mid-2008) and unemployment rates remain close to historically high levels (10.4 % in April 2014, following a peak rate of 10.9% observed throughout the first half of 2013).
There are wide divergences in levels of unemployment between Member States, and the quality of jobs remains a concern, since growth in employment is mainly driven by temporary and part-time jobs. Most worrying, long term unemployment continues to increase in countries with the highest unemployment rates.
The labour market situation remains very difficult for young people under 25, with an unemployment rate of 22.5% in April 2014, while employment growth has so far primarily benefited older workers (55-64). Young people are also the hardest hit by underemployment and feel discouraged to look for work.
To support the transition from school to work, the Commission has proposed Country Specific Recommendations to Member States on improving public employment services, education and training, boosting apprenticeships, and urgently implementing the Youth Guarantee.
Starting with the current issue of the Quarterly, a tool is provided to facilitate the access to regularly updated underlying data, charts and tables. They are accessible from the document or downloadable from the web. The material will be regularly updated, as soon as new data are released.