Throughout the second quarter 2020, the labour market across the EU was affected by COVID-19 measures. Employment and unemployment as defined by the International Labour Organisation concept are, in this particular situation, not sufficient to describe all the developments taking place in the labour market.
Measures to contain employment losses led to absences from work rather than dismissals, and people could not search for work or were not available due to the containment measures, thus not counting as unemployed. Therefore, we should look at the total labour market slack, which comprises all persons who have an unmet need for employment, absences from work, as well as the change in the actual hours worked in the main job.
In the second quarter of 2020, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the EU was 6.5%, up from 6.3% in the first quarter 2020. At the same time, seasonally adjusted total labour market slack in the EU, consisting in unmet demand for labour, amounted to 14.0% of the extended labour force, up from 12.8% in the first quarter 2020. This has been the highest quarter-on-quarter increase since the beginning of the time series in 2008.
Watch a webinar recording where Eurostat statisticians explain the labour market slack and describe the transitions between employment and unemployment towards inactivity:
Or consult the powerpoint presentation:
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