How distorted is the EU labour market by this crisis?

José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, received Mariano Rajoy Brey, Spanish Prime Minister. Spain and Greece both suffer of unemployment rates of up to 27%. (EC Audiovisual Servisec, 05/06/2013 ).

José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, received Mariano Rajoy Brey, Spanish Prime Minister. Spain and Greece both suffer of unemployment rates of up to 27%. (EC Audiovisual Servisec, 05/06/2013 ).

Once more Eurostat, the EU statistical service, went a step forward and produced deep socio-economic analysis with labour market data, than sheer statistical tables. Without colouring its statistics with ideology, the choice of the variables to analyse and present betray a scientific strictness accompanied however with increased susceptibility towards inequality and exclusion. This time it was the Eurostat writer, Martin Teighgraber, who produced an excellent work entitled “Labour market and labour force statistics”. No need to say that he commenced his presentation with the observation that the European Union and its labour market(s) is (are) still under the spell of the five years old crisis.

Invariably a crisis or a deep economic recession hurts more the less qualified workers and of course the unemployed. This credit crunch however which plagues more than half of the European Union and more so Eurozone’s south, going on uninterrupted as from 2008, has sent inequality between countries and individuals to the sky. Even between the worst hit countries there are distinct inequalities. For example Greece and Spain suffer of almost the same overall unemployment rate around 27%. Still in Greece only 51.3 % of the labour force in employment while in Spain this variable reached 55.4% in 2012. Who could imagine some years ago a developed European society with only half of its labour force in productive employment?

Increased inequality, vertically and horizontally

The Eurostat writer observes that “developments in the labour market did not affect Member States in the same way or to the same extent. As a result, the differences between Member States increased…The employment rate for the population aged 15-64 was higher than the EU average (64.2 %) in eleven EU Member States. The highest rates were recorded by the Netherlands (75.1 %), Sweden (73.8 %), Germany (72.8 %), Denmark (72.6 %), and Austria (72.5 %). By contrast, ten Member States did not reach 60 %. The lowest employment rates were observed in Greece (51.3 %), Spain (55.4 %), Italy (56.8 %) and Hungary (57.2 %)”. This is horizontal inequality.

Employment rate persons aged 15-64, 2012

labour2Eurostat graph

However if one takes a closer look at employment statistics one can find hidden loopholes of vertical inequality. It might not be substantiated by hard-core data but in almost all north European low unemployment countries, a large part of those jobs belongs to the ‘novel’ forms of work or training, in most cases without social contribution coverage. In Germany it’s the very badly paid ‘petty jobs’ and in Holland it’s the part timers. This last form of (un)employment continued its upward trend in 2012. According to this study part-time jobs “share of total EU employment reached 19.2 %, up 0.4 percentage points on 2011. Among the EU countries, part-time employment was highest in the Netherlands (49.2 % of employed persons)”.

What do they do?

For decades now the percentage of people working in the services sector has been continuously growing in the European Union and more so in Eurozone. At the same time employment in manufacturing has declined, while jobs in the agricultural sector have almost been extinct in west and north EU countries (below 2 % in Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Malta). Over all in the EU27, 24.9 % of employed persons worked in industry and construction, while agriculture accounted for 5%.

As a result the largest job provider has become the services sector (public service, education, health, culture/arts, entertainment, recreation etc.), where they have found employment more than two out of every three workers. There are big differences though between member states in the sectorial distribution of employment. According to Eurostat, {The relevance of industry (manufacturing and construction) was highest in the Czech Republic (38.1 %) and Slovakia (37.5 %), and lowest in Luxembourg (12.7 %). The share of market services was highest in Cyprus (48.0 %), and non-market services were most prominent in Luxembourg (42.6 %)}.

The self-employed

On many occasions self-employment is a forced solution for long-term unemployed persons. A small neighbourhood shop or a country tavern are the usual solutions. Add to that tradition and subsidies and Greece appears as the champion of self-employment with 31.9 % of its labour force, Italy (23.4 %), Portugal (21.1 %) and Romania (20.1 %). The lowest proportion was registered in Estonia (8.3 %), Luxembourg (8.4 %), Denmark (8.9 %) and Lithuania (9.7 %). Self-employed persons accounted for 15.2 % of total EU employment in 2012.

No doubt that the south Eurozone countries seem to have paid the dearest price for this ongoing crisis, having suffered the worst deterioration in their labour market situation. Who was responsible for this deep recession is still under discussion. On the contrary it is very obvious that the dearest price for it has been paid by the low skilled workers and the unemployed.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Promoting gender equality a ‘crucial contribution’ in effort to restore, protect our planet’s oceans

Syria: A bloody tracer of Trump – Putin rapprochement

Ebola in DR Congo: conflict zones could constitute ‘hiding places’ for the deadly virus – WHO chief

7 steps to becoming a ‘CEO Academy’

EU budget: Commission helps prepare new Cohesion programmes with Regional Competitiveness Index and Eurobarometer

INTERVIEW: Poverty, education and inclusion top new General Assembly President’s priority list

Things are bad and getting worse for South Africa. Or are they?

Second Facebook-Cambridge Analytica hearing: impact on privacy, voting and trust

This is how rice is hurting the planet

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change-the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, yet overlooked in climate negotiations?” IFMSA wonders from COP21 in Paris

Libya stands at a ‘critical juncture’, UN mission head tells Security Council

Finland must focus on integrating migrant women and their children to boost their contribution to the economy and society

IMF: The global economy keeps growing except Eurozone

Senior UN children’s advocate says they ‘should never be targeted by violence’

Why do US presidential elections last so long? And 4 other things you need to know

Saving the whales is more important than planting trees to stop climate change. This is why

Parliament ready to fight for a different EU budget

UN experts cite ‘possible exploitation’ of workers hired to clean up toxic Japanese nuclear plant

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

Africa must become more resilient to climate risk. Here’s how

LGBTQI+ and medicine

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

How Abu Dhabi found a way to grow vegetables in 40-degree heat

Australia now has 25 million people. Will it choose to keep growing?

Vulnerable young people must not be blamed & stigmatised for violent radicalisation

How to help companies become global defenders of LGBTI rights

Brain drain 2017: why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

This Mexican company is making biofuel from cactus plants

Main results of EU-Japan summit which took place on 25/04/2019 in Brussels

The Ultimate Career Choice: General Practice Specialist

Altruism can be good for business, as these companies show

Sanctions on Russia to be the biggest unity test at this European Council

Germany hides its own banks’ problems

EU fundamental rights under threat in several member states

Can privatisation be the panacea for the lack of growth in Europe?

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

Why European manufacturing SMEs in the South face fatal dangers

A Sting Exclusive: “China is Making Good Stories not Bad Ones”, Ambassador Yang highlights from Brussels

Terror attacks strike people ‘from all walks of life, the UN included’

Single-use plastics: New EU rules to reduce marine litter

‘New tech’ business model threatens decent work conditions, warns UN

The new assembly lines: Why AI needs low-skilled workers too

Glaringly false reassurances about the repercussions of the EU-US free trade agreement

From drones to health data, how Japan can power ahead

UN chief hears ‘heartbreaking accounts’ of suffering from Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh; urges international community to ‘step up support’

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

If you live in a big city you already smoke every day

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

Africa-Europe Alliance: first projects kicked off just three months after launch

European Court rules that ECB’s OMT program of 2012 is OK; not a word from Germany about returning the Greek 2010 courtesy

General Elections in Spain: Twitter organises the first digital debate to empower young people.

The Commission accused of tolerating corruption and fraud in taxation

Sexual education in a school at the Brazilian Amazon

Schengen is losing ground fast revealing Europe’s clear inability to deal with migration crisis

China-EU Relations: Broader, Higher and Stronger

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia

Eurozone banks to separate risky activities: Can they stay afloat?

Walk, cycle, dance and play – UN health agency recommends new action plan for good health

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Whilst I appreciate it’s not just this simple, it’s hard to understand how any area as diverse as this can come under one central governance. In a country such as the UK, if this was going on there’d be a clamour for decentralisation. Really interesting article.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s