Employment and Social Developments Quarterly Review: 2.8 million more employees under a permanent contract

The winter edition of the Employment and Social Development in Europe (ESDE) Quarterly Review 2016, released today, highlights continuing economic growth in the EU, together with a steady decrease in unemployment. In December 2016, there were 1.8 million less unemployed people than the year before; including 1.3 million people less in the euro area. The strongest declines in unemployment were seen in the younger age groups (those 20-24 and 25-29 years old). In the third quarter of 2016, there were 940,000 more people in employment than in spring 2008. For the first time, all Member States in the EU achieved activity rates above 65%. In addition, in the year to the third quarter of 2016, the number of employees with permanent contracts grew by 1.8%. This represents an increase of 2.8 million employees, which is seven times higher than the increase in temporary contracts of 420 thousand (1.6% growth). Also the financial situation of EU households continues to improve in nearly all Member States, as real gross disposable household income continued to grow by a solid 2%. The improvement resulted from an increase in income from work, and a further increase in social benefits. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen commented: “With 1.8 million fewer people unemployed than a year before, and employment figures exceeding even the pre-crisis peak, this Commission shows once again that helping people to find a quality job is on the top of its agenda. This does not only have a positive impact on our economies, it also empowers and protects our European citizens against poverty and financial distress. But this does not mean that our work stops here. We will need to update and modernise our social model to fit today’s challenges on the labour market and be fair to all generations. This goal will be at the heart of our upcoming proposal on the European Pillar of Social Rights, a key initiative to further improve job opportunities and economic and social conditions for all.”