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Europe – Temporary contracts decline since 2007

26 June 2013

The European Commission has released its latest report on EU Employment and Social Situation, an in-depth analysis of recent labour market and social developments. This review had a particular emphasis on youth temporary employment.  

In 2007, 14.6 % of all employees across Europe (aged 15-64) had been on temporary contracts, with young people (aged 15-24) equating to 41.3 %. Between 2007 and 2010 the number of young people on temporary contracts fell by 867 000 (approximately -10%) from its level of 2007. Compared with those aged between 25-64 where the number of temporary jobholders fell by 540, 000; equating to a -3 % fall from its 2007 level.

This has been a particular problem in Spain where a high number of young people are involuntarily temporary employees, simply because they cannot find permanent employment. Their job security is low, as most employees are on short-term contracts limited to up-to-three-months or, if they are more fortunate, up-to-a-year.

Against this backdrop, the number of temporary and permanent jobs across the EU has never been so low since the onset of the crisis. Employment at EU level has been trending down since mid-2011, with positive developments recorded only in part-time work. The number of unemployed in the EU has again risen in recent months, hitting a new historic high of 26.6 million in April 2013 (+0.4 % on the previous month). The second dip of the double dip recession led to a steady increase in unemployment in the EU over the past two years, with 4 million more people out of work (+18 %). Unemployment now accounts for 11.0 % of the active population and for 12.2 % in the euro area (or 19.4 million).

Long-term unemployment worsened in most Member States at the end of 2012 and reached an all-time high of 11.6 million in the EU in the last quarter, accounting for 4.9 % of the active population. 

The June edition of the EU Employment and Social Situation report can be downloaded here.

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