Employment and social developments in Europe: 2017 review shows positive trends but highlights high burden on the young

The Commission published the 2017 edition of its yearly Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) review.

This year's edition confirms positive labour market and social trends and continued economic growth. With over 234 million people having a job, employment has never been as high as today in the EU and unemployment is at its lowest level since December 2008. Since 2013, 10 million jobs have been created in the EU. But looking beyond the overall social and economic progress, evidence shows that there is a particularly heavy burden on younger generations: they tend to have more difficulties in finding a job and are more often in non-standard and precarious forms of employment including temporary contracts, which may lower their social protection coverage. They are also likely to receive lower pensions, relative to wages. This is why the 2017 ESDE review focuses on intergenerational fairness: we need to make sure that all generations benefit from the current positive economic trends.

he report shows that despite steady improvements in living standards in the EU, young people do not equally benefit from this positive evolution compared to the older generations. Moreover, younger age groups' share in income from work has decreased over time. Such challenges are affecting younger people's household decisions, including having children and buying a house. This may in turn have negative consequences on fertility rates and, consequently, on the sustainability of pension systems and growth.

In addition, the working age population is expected to decline by 0.3% every year until 2060. This means that a smaller work force will need to ensure we keep on the current growth path. It also means that at the same time, a smaller number of contributors will pay into pension systems – often with lower and/or irregular contributions as they will not be corresponding to full-time and/or standard work- while more pensioners will depend on them. Today's young workers and future generations therefore seem to face a double burden stemming from demographic change and the need to ensure pension systems' sustainability.

2017 Employment and Social Developments in Europe review

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