EU employment is struggling, with Ireland below average

The amount of people working in Europe has decreased, and still hasn’t recovered from the financial crisis.

THE AMOUNT OF people working in Europe has yet to recover from the impact of the financial crisis, new statistics show.

Figures released by the EU’s official statistics agency yesterday show that the percentage of people working in the EU between the ages of 20 and 64 decreased last year to 68.3 per cent.

Eurostat said that the financial crisis had initially knocked the level of people working from 70.3 per cent in 2008 down to 68.9 per cent, and that the trend has continued downwards since.

In Ireland, the amount of people working climbed as high as 73.8 per cent in 2008, before nosediving to 63.7 per cent last year. We remain below the EU average, with our 2013 figure standing at 65.5 per cent.

The employment rate represents employed persons as a percentage of the population the same age, whereas unemployment figures usually focus on the amount of people receiving welfare payments.

Best (and worst) in class

The best performing economy in terms of employment is Sweden, with 79.8 per cent of people working, with Germany in second on 77.1 per cent and The Netherlands rounding out the top three with 76.5 per cent.

At the opposite end of the scale, the worst performer in the EU was Greece with an employment level of 53.2 per cent, followed by Croatia with 53.9 per cent and Spain with 58.2 per cent.

Golden oldies working longer

Among older people, the pattern is the exact opposite, with steady growth in employment among 55 to 64 year olds, which has climbed from 38.1 per cent to 50.1 per cent last year.

In Ireland, the level of employment for the older cohort was 51.3 per cent.

Again, Sweden has the highest percentage of older workers employed at 73 per cent, with Germany following on 63.5 per cent and Estonia on 62.6 per cent.

Germany and Malta were the only member-states that showed nearly continuous growth over the whole period from 2002 to 2013, while the opposite was true for Portugal.

Unemployment down in the eurozone but 18 million still jobless>

Unemployment rate falls again to 11.7 per cent>

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