- The economic and financial crisis has an impact on regional employment rates in Europe, and has reduced the likelihood that national targets will be achieved.
- Only one out of five regions has already achieved national targets, as the crisis has wiped-out most of the employment gains between 2000 and 2008.
- The national targets for employment vary between the EU Member States. The targets range from 80% in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands to 62.9% in Malta.
Observations for policy
Growth and jobs are at the core of policy debates. The employment rate is one of the most used indicators to illustrate the progress towards better economic performances. The European Commission has set a target of 75% for the year 2020 in its Europe 2020 strategy. However, the economic and financial crisis made achieving this target a larger challenge. This was especially the case in regions that already had low employment rates. The crisis has widened the gap between less and more developed regions in terms of employment rates.
The national targets on employment differ per Member State. Furthermore the map shows that the distances of regions to the national targets are heterogeneous as well. Regional employment rates result from a wide range of structural and political factors leading to the need of tailor-made, regionally differentiated policies to improve employment rates. The EU should also consider the issue of labour mobility between regions, which may help improve to fit between labour market supply and demand. Regional employment strategies could be considered in this regard.
The European Commission aims at investing in growth and jobs with its regional policy. Fewer more focused thematic objectives have therefore been defined to enhance the effectiveness of these European policies. The Europe 2020 strategy鈥檚 headline target is an employment rate of 75% within the population aged 20-64. The economic and financial crisis emphasized the need for sound and integrated policies regarding growth and jobs.
According to the 6th Cohesion Report, between 2000 and 2008 the employment rate of those aged 20-64 in the EU increased on average by four percentage points. The crisis, however, has wiped-out half the gains made over this period. In less developed countries the average employment rate in 2013 was below that in 2000. Regions, qualified as transition regions under EU Cohesion Policy, lost two-thirds of the previous gain, while the more developed regions lost only a third.
Only one out of five regions in Europe has reached the national targets regarding employment rates. The national targets are heterogeneous and range from 80% in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands to 62,9% in Malta. It has to be noted that cumulating the national targets for employment would not reach the Commission鈥檚 target of 75% employment in the age group 20 to 64. Achieving the targets has even become a bigger challenge due to the economic and financial crisis.
Regions in Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Portugal and Italy as well as the capital region in Slovakia and the Czech Republic have achieved their national defined employment targets. Within most countries the capital regions are performing better regarding their national employment target. However, this is not true for all European countries. In Germany for example the region of Berlin and more densely populated regions in the Ruhr area show larger differences to the national target than other regions.
The crisis has widened the gap between more developed regions and less developed regions. A core-periphery pattern of over/under performance can be defined, this accounts both on European scale between countries as well as within countries between urban and rural regions.
Concepts and methods
The maps shows distances percentage points between regional in employment rates and national target values. The employment rate is defined as the number of persons aged 20 to 64 in employment divided by the total population of the same age group. NUTS2 regions that perform above the national average are shown in green, regions performing below the national target are shown in red.