The latest annual review of Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) shows encouraging results. Around 3 million jobs have been created and employment has risen, pushing back poverty. However, unemployment remains high, with huge disparities across Member States. Labour markets and societies will need to adapt to new forms of work.
This year's Employment and Social Developments report – or in short, 'ESDE' – focussed on employment as a means to tackle poverty, digitalisation and the changing world of work, the role of social dialogue, disparities among Member States and the integration of refugees in the labour market.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, commented: "This annual Review shows that our efforts of the last years are bearing fruit. Our economies continue to create jobs, and households saw their disposable incomes increase. However, many people who work are still poor, which shows that it is not just about creating jobs, but about creating quality jobs. In addition, societies and labour markets are changing, due to new technologies and new forms of work. These bring new opportunities, but also new challenges, and we need to ensure that no one is left behind. With the European Pillar of Social Rights and new initiatives in the framework of our New Skills Agenda, we aim at tackling these challenges head on."
Employment on the rise, pushing back poverty
The number of Europeans in work was the highest ever measured, reaching 232 million. Last year, three million jobs have been created, most of them permanent. Full-time employment effectively protects people against poverty in most cases. The share of the EU population at risk of poverty or social exclusion (23.7 %) is the lowest in five years.
However, still 8.6% of the Europeans are unemployed, and the Review highlights how difficult it has been in the post-crisis years (2008-2013) to return to employment: only about one in eight unemployed people managed to find permanent full-time employment within three years. Youth unemployment, still above 20%, remains a major concern.