(Brussels) According to the latest quarterly survey on employment and social development in Europe, produced today by the EU Commission and covering the third quarter of 2017, “the number of full-time workers has grown by about 3 million up to 181 million, while part-time workers have increased by 300 thousand units up to 42.7 million”. The EU employment rate among 20-64 year-olds has “constantly increased over the last three years”, so that in the third quarter of 2017 it was 72.3%: “it is – Brussels’ expert commented – the highest rate ever”. There are still, however, “great differences between the member states”. Domestic employment rates range from Greece’s 58% to Sweden’s 82%. The report also found that the EU unemployment level “is constantly getting closer to pre-crisis levels”. After the peak of April 2013, the number of unemployed people has decreased by about 8.6 million and stayed below 18 million in December 2017, the lowest since November 2008.
The quarterly report also found more information about the employment market, “which confirm the EU’s economy is getting in better shape”: “productivity of work – the EU Commission’s report says – has increased by 0.8% since the third quarter of 2016”. The steepest growth was recorded in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania; “the financial situation of EU families has kept getting better at a growth rate of about 1.5% from last year, mainly due to increased income from employment”. “In most member states, the families’ income has increased in the year before the first half of 2017. Nevertheless, in many countries, such as Croatia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands, the families’ gross disposable income has been still lower than that of 2008”.