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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against unemployment

28-06-2019

By promoting a high level of employment, the European Union (EU) has been involved in the fight against unemployment since as long ago as the early 1950s. The issue was brought to the top of the European agenda with the onset of the 2008 economic and financial crisis, and the consequent rise in unemployment rates in all European Union (EU) Member States. In its Europe 2020 strategy, the European Commission set a target to get 75 % of 20 to 64 year-olds into employment by 2020. EU labour market conditions ...

By promoting a high level of employment, the European Union (EU) has been involved in the fight against unemployment since as long ago as the early 1950s. The issue was brought to the top of the European agenda with the onset of the 2008 economic and financial crisis, and the consequent rise in unemployment rates in all European Union (EU) Member States. In its Europe 2020 strategy, the European Commission set a target to get 75 % of 20 to 64 year-olds into employment by 2020. EU labour market conditions have significantly improved in recent years, and most labour market indicators have strengthened steadily. Since mid-2013, the unemployment rate has continued to decline, and the EU is back to its pre-crisis level (6.5 % in February 2019). Despite the recovery in economic growth and its positive impact on the labour market, the EU still has to face unemployment challenges, particularly concerning differences between Member States, youth unemployment and long-term unemployment. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including to help young people enter the labour market, to combat long-term unemployment, upgrade skills, and facilitate workers' mobility in the European Union. The improvement in labour market indicators has been reflected in citizens' improved evaluation of the EU's involvement in the fight against unemployment, but there is still a very high demand for even more EU intervention in this policy area (76 % of EU citizens). In the future, new or updated legislation relating to employment could modernise work to help in adjustment to a digital world, support sustainable transitions from unemployment into employment and between jobs, increase labour mobility and create closer coordination between economic and social policies. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Expected Unemployment Rate for 2019 in EU Member States

28-05-2019

The map below shows the 2019 expected unemployment rate based on the European Commission’s spring 2019 forecast; the data will be updated on regular basis once new forecasts will be available.

The map below shows the 2019 expected unemployment rate based on the European Commission’s spring 2019 forecast; the data will be updated on regular basis once new forecasts will be available.

Selected Euro Area Macroeconomic Indicators

24-05-2019

This table prepared by the Economic Governance Support Unit includes Euro Area key indicators and latest forecasts from the Commission, IMF, ECB and OECD.

This table prepared by the Economic Governance Support Unit includes Euro Area key indicators and latest forecasts from the Commission, IMF, ECB and OECD.

Key Macroeconomic Indicators in the Euro Area and the United States

21-05-2019

Latest forcest by EC, IMF and OECD.

Latest forcest by EC, IMF and OECD.

Argentina: Economic indicators and trade with EU

07-12-2018

In 2017, Argentina’s economy continued its gradual recovery from major macroeconomic imbalances with a GDP per capita growth rate of 2.9% thanks to austerity measures and a comprehensive reform agenda. However, inflation at 25.7% and unemployment at 8.5% remained high. Whereas economic fundamentals were slowly improving and the country’s political context remained stable after president Mauricio Macri made political gains at the mid-term legislative elections in October 2017, a crisis of confidence ...

In 2017, Argentina’s economy continued its gradual recovery from major macroeconomic imbalances with a GDP per capita growth rate of 2.9% thanks to austerity measures and a comprehensive reform agenda. However, inflation at 25.7% and unemployment at 8.5% remained high. Whereas economic fundamentals were slowly improving and the country’s political context remained stable after president Mauricio Macri made political gains at the mid-term legislative elections in October 2017, a crisis of confidence hit the economy in spring 2018. The crisis exposed vulnerabilities resulting from Argentina’s fiscal and current account deficit and large foreign-denominated debt. As the peso continued its downward trend in autumn 2018, although Argentina secured an IMF US$50 billion credit line and committed to new austerity measures, the economic context is likely to harden ahead of the 2019 presidential elections. With a share of 16.2% of Argentina’s overall trade, the EU is the country’s second largest trading partner after Brazil that accounts for 21.9%. In 2017, EU exports to Argentina increased to almost €10 billion, while EU imports slightly decreased to more than €8 billion. Total imports of primary products from Argentina declined and those of manufactures, notably chemicals, grew. EU exports of both primary products and manufactures, particularly machinery and appliances as well as transport equipment, increased.

An economic recovery with little sign of inflation acceleration: A transitory phenomenon or evidence of a structural change?

15-02-2018

This paper investigates the possibility that there has been a structural shift in inflation (upward) in the euro area since the recovery in 2014 or 2015. From the perspective of policy, it is important to be sure that any such shifts are significant statistically, sustained or likely to be sustained (durable) over the near future, and are evenly distributed over the member economies so that no one of them is damaged by anti-inflation measures taken to help the others. We approach the problem in two ...

This paper investigates the possibility that there has been a structural shift in inflation (upward) in the euro area since the recovery in 2014 or 2015. From the perspective of policy, it is important to be sure that any such shifts are significant statistically, sustained or likely to be sustained (durable) over the near future, and are evenly distributed over the member economies so that no one of them is damaged by anti-inflation measures taken to help the others. We approach the problem in two steps: we first examine the circumstantial and informal evidence, and then conduct formal statistical tests for structural changes in euro area inflation in 2015 or 2016. We find no evidence of a structural change under the four criteria mentioned. The even distribution of inflation criterion is the closest to being satisfied, but the other three are far from satisfied in any formal sense. There was a brief acceleration in inflation in mid-2016 towards 2%, but it flattened out in 2017 and has been constant at 1.5% ever since. Core inflation was constant at 0.9% throughout. The question is why has there been no inflation in the recovery and how long is that likely to last? In a third step, we explain how low growth in real wages and self-reinforcing low productivity growth produces slow output growth and low inflation. This model fits the data pretty well, down to the lack of labour and total factor productivity and to substituting cheaper labour for excess capital stock. It implies a fall in investment spending (also seen in the data) which in turn extends the period for which low productivity-low inflation outcomes apply.

Autore esterno

Andrew HUGHES HALLETT

Why does the recovery show so little inflation?

15-02-2018

We investigate the determinants of inflation in the euro area since 2000 and show that the most important determinants are inflation expectations and wage growth. Both indicators have contributed negatively to inflation since 2014 but inflation expectations less so since 2015 whereas the contribution of wage growth has remained negative. We suggest that structural reforms may have put a drag on the ability of the ECB to reach its inflation target rapidly.

We investigate the determinants of inflation in the euro area since 2000 and show that the most important determinants are inflation expectations and wage growth. Both indicators have contributed negatively to inflation since 2014 but inflation expectations less so since 2015 whereas the contribution of wage growth has remained negative. We suggest that structural reforms may have put a drag on the ability of the ECB to reach its inflation target rapidly.

Autore esterno

Christophe BLOT, Jérôme CREEL, Paul HUBERT, OFCE (Sciences Po)

Economic recovery and inflation

15-02-2018

In the last decade, advanced economies, including the euro area, experienced deflationary pressures caused by the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 and the anti-crisis policies that followed—in particular, the new financial regulations (which led to a deep decline in the money multiplier). However, there are numerous signs in both the real and financial spheres that these pressures are disappearing. The largest advanced economies are growing up to their potential, unemployment is systematically ...

In the last decade, advanced economies, including the euro area, experienced deflationary pressures caused by the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 and the anti-crisis policies that followed—in particular, the new financial regulations (which led to a deep decline in the money multiplier). However, there are numerous signs in both the real and financial spheres that these pressures are disappearing. The largest advanced economies are growing up to their potential, unemployment is systematically decreasing, the financial sector is more eager to lend, and its clients—to borrow. Rapidly growing asset prices signal the possibility of similar developments in other segments of the economy. In this new macroeconomic environment, central banks should cease unconventional monetary policies and prepare themselves to head off potential inflationary pressures.

Autore esterno

Marek Dabrowski, CASE

Persistent low inflation in the euro area: Mismeasurement rather than a cause for concern?

15-02-2018

The huge literature on the causes of the persistent weakness in inflation in the euro area has not identified one single key factor. Moreover, inflation has also been lower than expected in many advanced countries. Low inflation expectations seem to have played an important role in reducing wage demand, both in the US and the euro area; but a residual output gap also contributes. The concerns about low inflation seem overblown. The HICP (Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices) used to measure inflation ...

The huge literature on the causes of the persistent weakness in inflation in the euro area has not identified one single key factor. Moreover, inflation has also been lower than expected in many advanced countries. Low inflation expectations seem to have played an important role in reducing wage demand, both in the US and the euro area; but a residual output gap also contributes. The concerns about low inflation seem overblown. The HICP (Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices) used to measure inflation in the euro area differs from the indices used in most advanced countries in that it does not account for the cost of owner occupied housing. This omission has a considerable impact on measured inflation and can explain most of the difference between inflation in the US and in the euro area. If the HICP were to incorporate the available estimates of inflation in owner occupied housing, measured inflation would be close to 2 %.

Autore esterno

Daniel GROS, CEPS

An economic recovery with little signs of inflation acceleration: Transitory phenomenon or evidence of a structural change?

15-02-2018

Inflation has been persistently below the inflation target of the ECB despite the ongoing economic recovery in the euro area. In this paper, we analyse whether the relationship between inflation and economic activity in the euro area has changed based on a review of the literature and discuss implications for monetary policy.

Inflation has been persistently below the inflation target of the ECB despite the ongoing economic recovery in the euro area. In this paper, we analyse whether the relationship between inflation and economic activity in the euro area has changed based on a review of the literature and discuss implications for monetary policy.