The FINANCIAL -- In 2016, the employment rate of the population aged 20 to 64 in the European Union (EU) stood at 71.1%, up compared with both 2015 (70.1%) and its previous peak recorded in 2008 (70.3%).
The Europe 2020 strategy target is to reach a total employment rate for people aged 20 to 64 of at least 75% in the EU by 2020. This objective has been translated into national targets in order to reflect the situation and possibilities of each Member State to contribute to the common goal.
The upward trend in employment rate is visible both for men and women. For men, their employment rate hit 76.9% in 2016, an increase compared with 2015 (75.9%) but still below its 2008 level (77.8%). As for women, their employment rate has continuously risen since 2010 to reach 65.3% in 2016. Similarly, the employment rate of persons aged 55 to 64 in the EU has grown steadily over the last years, from 38.4% in 2002 to 55.3% in 2016. The greater participation of older workers is also one of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy on employment.
This information comes from an article issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, based on the 2016 results of the European Labour Force Survey. This survey collects data on employment and unemployment, as well as on a large range of other variables related to the labour market, of which only a small selection is shown in this News Release.
A quarter of Member States already achieved their Europe 2020 employment target
Compared with 2015, the employment rate for those aged 20 to 64 increased in 2016 in all Member States except Luxembourg where it remained nearly stable. It grew most strongly in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Spain, Lithuania and Malta.
Employment rates above 75% were recorded in Sweden (81.2%), Germany (78.7%), the United Kingdom (77.6%), Denmark (77.4%), the Netherlands (77.1%), the Czech Republic (76.7%), Estonia (76.6%) and Lithuania (75.2%). Among these Member States, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania and Sweden have already met or exceeded their 2020 national targets for this indicator in 2016, as have Ireland and Latvia. Malta is only 0.4 percentage points from reaching its target.
On the other hand, the lowest employment rate was observed in Greece (56.2%), followed by Croatia (61.4%), Italy (61.6%) as well as Spain (63.9%).
Narrowest gender employment gap in Lithuania, widest in Malta
Employment rates of men and women continued however to vary considerably in many Member States in 2016.
The difference between the employment rate of women and that of men aged 20-64 was lowest in Lithuania (74.3% for women vs. 76.2% for men, or -1.9 percentage points), Latvia (-2.9 pp), Finland (-3.3 pp) and Sweden (-3.8 pp).
At the opposite end of the scale, the largest difference between the employment rate of women and that of men was observed in Malta (55.5% for women vs. 83.1% for men, or -27.6 pp). Big gaps were also recorded in Italy (-20.1 pp), Greece (-19.0 pp), Romania (-17.6 pp) and the Czech Republic (-16.0 pp).
At EU level, the difference between the employment rate of women aged 20-64 (65.3%) and that of men aged 20-64 (76.9%) was -11.6 pp in 2016, compared with -17.3 pp in 2002.
Employment rate of those aged 55 to 64 at its highest point in the EU
From 2002 onwards, the employment rate of people aged 55-64 in the EU has grown steadily to reach 55.3% in
2016, compared with 38.4% in 2002. The growth was stronger for women (from 29.1% in 2002 to 48.9% in 2016) than for men (48.2% in 2002 vs. 62.0% in 2016). As a consequence, the gap between the employment rate of women and men aged 55-64 in the EU has been reduced, from a 19.1 percentage points difference in 2002 to a 13.1 pp difference in 2016.
More than two-thirds of persons aged 55 to 64 have a job in Sweden, Germany and Denmark
In 2016, over half of the population aged 55 to 64 was in employment in fifteen EU Member States. The highest employment rate for this age group was observed in Sweden (75.5%), ahead of Germany (68.6%), Denmark (67.8%), Estonia (65.2%), Lithuania (64.6%), the Netherlands (63.5%) and the United Kingdom (63.4%). On the other hand, the lowest employment rates were registered in Greece (36.3%), Croatia (38.1%), Slovenia (38.5%) and Luxembourg (39.6%). Compared with 2015, the employment rate for those aged 55 to 64 increased in 2016 in all EU Member States except Croatia.