The EU employment rate for people 20 to 64 years has increased by 0.9 percentage points in the year to the third quarter of 2015, reaching 70.6%, according to the 2015 winter edition of the Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review. The improvement was shared by most Member States, with Estonia, Latvia, Hungary and Spain recording the largest increases.
Employment and activity rates have continued to increase in the EU, across all population groups and most notably for older workers (55 – 59 years). In the third quarter of 2015, the overall EU employment rate has even reached its pre-crisis level, although the progress is unevenly distributed among Member States. In addition, unemployment has continued to recede and the share of long-term unemployed persons in total unemployment has slightly gone down.
The Quarterly Review also confirms that in the year to the third quarter, employment was up in all broad sectors except for agriculture and construction. However, the EU quarterly employment growth in the third quarter of 2015 was mainly driven by the service sectors. Employment growth was driven by both permanent and full-time contracts, though less so than in 2014. The number of employees with a permanent contract grew by about 1.5 million in the year to the third quarter of 2015, while temporary contracts grew by about 930 thousand and the number of those self-employed declined by 330 thousand. The number of full-time workers increased by about 1.5 million, while the number of part-time workers increased by about 600 thousand.
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