The European Commission's latest Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review has shown that, although Europe’s economy is slowly growing, this growth remains fragile.
Employment has continued to grow in most sectors since mid 2013. The number of hours worked rose and, for the first time since 2011, there has been a small increase in full-time contracts and improvements in the situation of young people. It should be noted, however, that many of the new jobs created are part-time or temporary.
High rates of unemployment is recent years has led to increasing concerns about long-term unemployment. Long-term unemployment represents a large share of total unemployment levels, with almost 13 million people having been unemployed for more than one year, and one in three unemployed people having spent more than two years without a job.
There has been an improvement in the overall situation of young people, with significant reductions in unemployment rates in most member states. However, there are still huge variations, with the youth unemployment rates in Greece and Spain remaining over 50%. Among the young people that have a job, almost half are in temporary employment and a quarter work part-time.
Inequality is still a pressing issue: an analysis of income indicators reveals that, even during the years of economic expansion, economic growth did not benefit all households equally, nor did it contribute to reduce inequalities in all member states. In many countries GDP has still not returned to pre-crisis levels.
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