After a moderate recovery of the labour market that lasted until mid-2011, employment in Europe is declining again. At the same time, unemployment, increasing steadily since spring, has reached a record level of 9.8%, cancelling all earlier improvements. Long-term unemployment accounts for an ever higher share of the total jobless rate. These are the fairly pessimistic findings presented in the latest Employment and social situation quarterly review, presented by the European Commission on 10 January. Most groups are affected, but those hit hardest are young people, the low-skilled and migrants. The report mentions a recent study showing that today's fiscal consolidation measures may further aggravate the situation of the most vulnerable if not carefully designed to avoid harmful effects.
Rising unemployment in 2008-2009 brought long-term joblessness from 2.5% in mid-2008 to 4% at mid-2011. This means that 43% of unemployed persons had been without a job for more than one year.
The social situation is also deteriorating. Recent data for 2010 show that poverty is on the increase in many member states, especially in the Baltic states, Spain and Ireland. Some population groups are seriously affected even in member states apparently less impacted overall: young adults, families with children and single parents. The share of children and working-age adults living in jobless households reached 9.9% in the EU27 in 2010.