The employment rate in the EU-25 has increased by 0.7 percentage points in the first quarter of 2006 compared with the same quarter of 2005. In the first quarter of 2006, 63.9% of the working age population (15-64 years of age) had a job or were engaged in some economic activity in the EU-25, compared with 63.2% in the first quarter of 2005. These figures were released in a report published by Eurostat at the end of December 2006(1). The publication belongs to a quarterly series presenting the European Union Labour Force Survey main results for the EU-25 and for all member states. Estonia recorded the highest rise among the member states, reaching 67.4%, up from 63.2%. Analysis of the employment rate shows a significant increase since the beginning of 2004.

The employment rate rose for both men and women, by 0.5 and 0.9 percentage points respectively in one year. In the first quarter of 2006, 71.1% of men and 56.7% of women aged 15 to 64 years were employed in the EU-25. The highest yearly increase in female employment rate was recorded in Estonia (from 61.4% in 2005 Q1 to 64.9% in 2006 Q1).

As a result of the rise in the employment rate, the share of the active population (employed plus unemployed people) in the whole population aged 15-64 was up to 70.2% in the 1st quarter of 2006, compared to 69.8% one year before. The unemployment rate showed a significant decrease in this period


In a separate report on people outside the labour market, called Statistics in focus, Population and social conditions, 18/2006', Eurostat notes a drop in female inactivity. The Lisbon Council set the overall target of reaching a 70%...

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