In spite of the persistent differences between the member states, globally the social situation and the employment situation in the EU remains preoccupying. Indeed, the quarterly report on these issues, presented on 28 September by the European Commission, notes an increase in the number of jobseekers and a “gloomy outlook” compared to pre-crisis years. The report also says that households’ financial situation is deteriorating and child poverty is increasing – phenomena that were particularly notable in Greece and Spain.
“Member states’ employment and social situations are diverging more than ever,” commented the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor. He called on member states to implement without delay the reforms suggested at European level. This analysis completes the ‘Monthly bulletin’ on employment, published on 20 September.
The quarterly report on the employment and social situation in the EU recalls, firstly, that the overall economic situation is at its lowest point in three years. In this context, employment is lower than last year’s level and the job-search outlook is low compared to the pre-crisis years. In the second quarter of 2012, unemployment rates increased in 17 member states (out of the 22 member states studied), while disparities have again widened between the better-performing EU countries on the one hand, such as Austria; and the “peripheral” countries on the other hand, such as Spain. As well as the unemployed, the EU now has 8.6 million under-employed part-time workers, of whom a majority are women; and 10.9 million people are in the grey area between inactivity and unemployment (those people who have stopped looking for work, for example).
The section dedicated to the EU’s social situation concludes that the gross household disposable income declined in two-thirds of EU countries between 2009 and 2011. These households struggle to provide for their child or children, leading to an upsurge of child poverty. According to statistics, the percentage of children at risk of poverty (after social transfers) ranges from around 10% in Denmark and Finland to over 20% in Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Luxembourg. Lastly, the quarterly report looks closely at the evolution of the social situation and the employment situation in Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Poland. It equally pays special attention to the sectors of tourism and hotels-restaurants-cafes, as well as enterprise restructuring themes.
“Member states’ employment and social situations are diverging more than ever,” commented Commissioner László Andor.