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.

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

144 years on, Universal Postal Union meets to define its 21st Century role

Tusk fights back while charismatic Boris goes against everybody in Brussels pushing the UK to leave the EU now or never

5 things you need to know about your microbiome

Japan’s holiest shrine is pulled down and rebuilt every 20 years – on purpose

Peace will be ‘paramount’ issue for incoming Afghan Government: UN mission chief

Employers’ organizations work towards improving the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises

Historical success for the First ever European Presidential Debate

Making technology work for 1.3 billion Indians

‘BioSolar Leaves’ are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

UN chief reaffirms commitment to untying ‘Gordian knot’ of Middle East conflict and instability

Young New Yorkers bring robots, and a glimpse of the future, to UN Headquarters

Financial support for workers affected by no-deal Brexit

Aung San Suu Kyi appears at ICJ as UN rights expert urges greater protection for Myanmar activists

Renovation Wave: doubling the renovation rate to cut emissions, boost recovery and reduce energy poverty

To be fair or to be sustainable? That is the (retirement) question

Here are three technology trends changing the way you travel

FIFA and UN kick off healthy living campaign, to harness global game’s ‘huge potential’

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

A Sting Exclusive: “Our Great Awakening, Rebuilding in a Culture of Collective Trauma”, by Dr Hokemeyer

The third bailout agreement for Greece is a done deal amid European economies full of problems

Computer skills are crucial for children – in lockdown and in life

Antibiotics are contaminating the world’s rivers

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for the electric vehicle revolution?

Here’s how sustainability can make you stand out from the crowd

GSMA Mobile 360 – MENA Dubai on 26-27 November 2019, in association with The European Sting

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

Why the world needs systems leadership, not selfish leadership

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

UN ‘financial crisis,’ years in the making, Guterres tells budget body, proposes solutions

Fair Taxation: EU updates list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

Chicken soup for the digital soul: how to bring community back online

Turkey to let EU alone struggle with the migrant crisis while enhancing its economic ties with Russia instead?

This is what is still holding social entrepreneurs back

The ECB tells Berlin that a Germanic Eurozone is unacceptable and doesn’t work

European Union signs aviation agreement with the Republic of Korea

UN agency plan tackles ‘hidden cost’ of gold, paves way for safer, mercury-free mining

‘Hateful attacks’ pushing Sri Lanka backwards, UN advisers warn, urging an end to ‘discriminatory practices’ that feed intolerance

EU Civil Protection Mechanism must be sufficiently funded to save lives

Still recovering from devastating cyclones, Mozambique, in UN address, warns of global warming’s ‘nefarious consequences’

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

Here are 5 reasons why the ocean is so important

COVID-19: It’s time to rethink where, how and why we work

Coronavirus: 5 ways to work from home with your kids (and stay sane)

Stricter rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

Rule of Law: European Commission refers Poland to the Court of Justice to protect judges from political control

Here’s why we need a global agreement on cross-border science to beat COVID-19

‘Complacency’ a factor in stagnating global vaccination rates, warn UN health chiefs

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

Wolfgang Schäuble: “Without European unification, there would be no German unity”

Feeling the heat? This is how to keep cool as temperatures rise

Repression, use of force risk worsening Bolivia crisis: UN human rights chief

Here’s how sustainable aviation fuel can take off in Europe

Has Germany rebuffed ECB on the banking union?

To build a circular economy, we need to put recycling in the bin

More than half of the global population is now online

Misinformation and growing distrust on vaccines, ‘dangerous as a disease’ says UNICEF chief

More Stings?

Advertising

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