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According to the latest EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review, the employment and social situation in the EU remained very serious in the second quarter of 2012, while divergence remains persistent between Member States.
The EU has been in recession or on the verge of it since late 2011 and the overall economic sentiment is at its lowest level in three years. In this context, employment is subdued compared to last year and job-finding prospects remain poor compared to pre-crisis years.
Especially worrying is the fact that unemployment is still on the rise and has climbed to 25.3 million, a historically high level. At 10.4% at EU level, the unemployment rate rose in 17 Member States and disparities have again widened. Long-term unemployed now account for 4.5 % of the active population (+0.4 pp over the year).
Beside the unemployed, there were some 8.6 million underemployed part-time workers in 2011, and a further 10.9 million people were in a grey zone between inactivity and unemployment, e.g. those who have given up searching for work.
Youth unemployment is still at a dramatic level - 22.5% in the EU in July. The gloomy outlook for the young reflects growing risks of long-term unemployment and inactivity, as indicated by the rise in the number of young people neither in employment nor in education and training (NEET).
Gross household disposable income declined in two-thirds of EU countries between 2009 and 2011. The share of the EU population experiencing financial distress remains historically high. Citizens of the countries affected by the steepest income declines are also generally more likely to have negative perceptions of their social situation, as the 2012 Eurobarometer on the Social Climate shows.
Child poverty is becoming an issue for a growing number of households because of insufficient earnings from parental work and inadequate support to households with children. The size and effectiveness of child benefits vary considerably across the EU. Affordable childcare is a very important factor in allowing parents, and especially mothers, to work.
This edition of the Quarterly Review analyses the situation in the tourism and HoReCa sector, presents an overview of measures implemented by Member States to support companies and employees affected by restructuring, and takes a closer look at the labour markets and social situation in Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Poland.