Modest upturn in employment in Q3/2020

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The FINANCIAL — In the third quarter of 2020, 72.4% of people in the European Union (EU) aged between 20-64 years were employed, up 0.3 percentage points (pp) from the previous quarter (seasonally adjusted data). The third quarter of 2020 was characterised by the reduction in restrictions imposed to contain COVID-19 across many countries and a subsequent upturn in economic activity. However, the level of employment failed to return to the level before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (in the fourth quarter of 2019) when 73.1% of people were employed.

Young people did not recover as strongly as other age groups in terms of employment. Indeed, the employment rate for young people aged between 15-24 was 31.3% in the third quarter of 2020, a rise of just 0.1 pp from the previous quarter (and a decline of 2.0 pp from the fourth quarter of 2019). Employment of people aged between 25-54 was 79.8% in the third quarter of 2020 and rose by 0.4 pp from the previous quarter, but remained 0.8 pp lower than the fourth quarter of 2019. By contrast, the employment rate for people aged between 55-64 was 59.7%, up 0.5 pp from the previous quarter and also 0.1 pp higher than the fourth quarter of 2019.

Fewer people employed in elementary occupations

Looking into employment by occupation, the number of people employed in elementary occupations decreased by 8.9%, comparing the third quarter of 2020 with the same quarter of 2019 (non-seasonally adjusted data given the level of detail). The number of service and sales workers also fell (-6.7%), as did employment of plant and machine operators and assemblers (-5.7%) and managers (-5.1%). By contrast, the number of people employed as professionals and clerical support workers increased by 4.7% and 1.5% respectively.

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