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According to the new EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review, the EU labour market is continuing to recover but at a slow pace and with large variations across EU countries.
Employment has improved since the second quarter of 2010, but significantly less than the economic output, while job losses have been concentrated in the lower-middle of the wage spectrum. Even if the overall trends during the last year points to a slight recovery of the labour market, long-term social risks are apparent, especially for specific sub-groups, including young people, migrants and low-skilled.
Unemployment decreased to 9.4 %, but this benefited mostly Member States which already had a lower than average unemployment rate. The labour market for youth has been improving for some time; however the overall impact of the crisis on young people remains significant. Unemployment still affects 20.3% of young people who are active in labour market, and remains a major challenge in nearly all Member States, together with an increased risk of long-term unemployment.
The impact of the crisis on the risk of poverty or exclusion is beginning to appear in some Member States. Material deprivation and especially those aspects relating to financial stress faced by the households reflect the social impact of the crisis.
Hourly labour costs increased slightly in 2010 in nominal terms, reflecting an increase in growth in wages and salaries. This was accompanied by a growth of 2.1% in labour productivity in the first quarter of 2011. According to the European Commission Spring economic forecasts, the EU economy is speeding up, but the outlook remains that of a rather jobless recovery with unemployment stubbornly high both in 2011 and 2012. .
This edition of the Quarterly Review analyses the volunteering sector, linked with the European Year of Volunteering, and takes a closer look at the situation on the labour markets in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.