28th February 2014

Economic Policy: EU unemployment trends confirm North-South divide

According to EC´s European Vacancy Monitor, the trends in unemployment show growing disproportionalities between the Northern and the Southern Member States. Countries such as Austria, Denmark, Sweden or Estonia show a growing shortage of labor supply, while the four Southern Member States, plus others like Slovakia, report growing competition for jobs. Overall employment in the EU has more or less stagnated in the recent quarter, while in the South it fell by 2% to 4%. What continues to be a huge problem is the youth unemployment. Not only is its rate alarming, having almost reached 60% in Greece, but the few jobs young people get are mostly lower skilled. What EU needs, according to the Monitor, is more higher skilled jobs for the young in order to boost productivity. To address these issues, the EU has set up an ambitious plan called Youth Guarantee that should help recent graduates find either further education, a traineeship or a permanent job. Some €70 million from the European Social Fund are also available to deal with the youth unemployment problem. Improving mobility is often cited as the best way to promote employment and a larger-scale use of the EURES portal by the employers and potential employees could be one of the answers, as well.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic