The increased role of social indicators in EU policy making and monitoring requires social indicators to be considered on an equal footing with macroeconomic indicators. This requires a sustainable upgrading and modernisation of European social statistics to meet the challenging new requirements.
As a result and in support of this, the Commission decided to reinforce the development, production and dissemination of Social Statistics by Eurostat.
Dir. F has since selected the most important areas of work identified as top priority in order to develop reinforced social indicators in response to direct policy needs. In particular, Unit F1 is in charge of the following projects:
- Flash Estimates of Income and Poverty Indicators
- Developments in Income, Consumption and Wealth statistics
- Developments in Labour Market statistics
The project stems from the need to provide timelier data on income, poverty, and social exclusion in order to feed the discussions in the context of the European Semester (including the early alert mechanism and the MIP). Timeliness of survey data on income and inequality can be improved, but for maintaining an appropriate level of quality, these improvements have limits. Therefore, for providing earlier information an approach based on modelling (nowcasting) is necessary. The plan is to have flash estimates for indicators concerning the evolution of income distribution year N-1 released in the beginning of the Semester (autumn year N). During the Semester, when preparing country specific reports, real (SILC) data on income N-1 would become available.
- Developments in Income, Consumption and Wealth statistics - Better capture of the distribution of income, consumption and wealth.
The European Commission has stressed the need to bring social indicators on a par with macroeconomic indicators within the macroeconomic governance. A key part of the strategy is the availability of harmonised statistics at EU level covering the distributional aspects of household income, consumption and wealth. This comes along also with the recommendations of the Sen, Stiglitz and Fitoussi Commission, which have stressed the need for considering income and consumption jointly with wealth and giving more prominence to the distribution of these three dimensions. The initiative by Eurostat on development and production of harmonised Income, Consumption and Wealth data as part of the official statistics in the EU is embedded in the reinforcement of social statistics and quality of micro data for joint ICW distributions based on the existing surveys. The filling of data gaps between micro and macro statistics using harmonised micro data on joint distributions of ICW is our reply to the data needs of policy users in the EU.
- Developments in Labour Market statistics - Developing, producing and disseminating labour mobility and migration indicators and integrated analyses including skills, migrant integration and training.
The labour market is constantly evolving. Skills, competences, and qualifications that people need change over time, and more rapidly now than in the past. To deal with these changes people need to be equipped with a variety of basic skills, including literacy, numeracy, foreign languages, science and digital skills. Transversal skills like proactivity, resilience and learning ability are also fundamental to help people properly deal with varied and unpredictable career paths. It is important from the political perspective to better identify and manage the availability of required skills, competences, and qualifications, and to help preventing skills gaps and mismatches in the labour market. Labour mobility as well contributes to making it easier to fill labour shortages, whether cyclical and structural or temporary, and at the same time it offers people opportunities for upward economic and social mobility. The concepts of national borders and residence have become less relevant due to globalization and increased internal mobility within the European Union. Therefore, data is needed to inform the current political discussion on labour supply and labour market policies. From the statistical perspective, both labour mobility and labour skills are complex and challenging topics, cutting across a number of statistical domains. This work area aims at developing, producing and disseminating indicators related to labour mobility, migration, migrant integration, supply, demand (and the matching between the two) and development of skills in the labour market.