April 21, 2020
In the year 2019, the year before COVID-19 containment measures were widely introduced by EU Member States, the employment rate of people aged 20 to 64 in the European Union of 27 Member States (EU) rose to 73.1% relative to 72.4% in 2018, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. By the year 2020, the Europe 2020 strategy target was to achieve a total employment rate for people aged 20 to 64 of at least 75%.
There were increases in the employment rates both for men and women in the period up to 2019. The employment rate for men struck 79.0% in 2019. The employment rate for women rose to 67.3% in 2019, a continuous increase since 2010. The employment rate of persons aged 55 to 64 in the EU also grew gradually, from 35.0% in 2000 to 59.1% in 2019. Notably, one of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy on employment is more participation of older workers.
In comparison to 2018, there was an increase in the employment rate in 2019 for those aged 20 to 64 in all Member States with the exception of Sweden, where it declined (-0.3 percentage points, pp), though remaining on a very high level. Employment rate advanced mostly in Bulgaria (+2.6 pp), Cyprus (+1.8 pp), Greece and Malta (both +1.7 pp) and Croatia (+ 1.5 pp).
Eurostat also noted, “the highest employment rates were recorded in Sweden (82.1%), Germany (80.6%), Czechia (80.3%), Estonia (80.2%) and the Netherlands (80.1%). These five countries also exceeded their national targets for this indicator, as was the case for Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. On the other hand, the lowest employment rate was observed in Greece (61.2%), although it grew over the year (+1.7 pp), followed by Italy (63.5%, +0.5 pp), Croatia (66.7%, +1.5 pp) as well as Spain (68.0%, +1.0 pp).”
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