Greek employment rising, but still lowest in the EU, Commission report

Employment in the European Union reached 72.3 pct in the third quarter of 2017, the highest level ever recorded, totaling more than 236 million people, the European Commission said on Monday. In a quarterly report on employment released in Brussels, the Commission said that employment grew 1.7 pct from the previous year, although it noted that employment levels continued showing large differences between EU member-states. The lowest employment rate was recorded in Greece (58 pct) and the highest in Sweden (82 pct).

In Greece, a 73.4 pct of unemployed people were long-term unemployed (more than 12 months) in the third quarter of 2017. In the same quarter, Greece recorded the highest long-term unemployment rate in the EU (15.3 pct), followed by Spain (7.1 pct) and Italy (6.2 pct). Greece also recorded the highest rate in “very long unemployment” (more than 24 months) with 11.0 pct.

The Commission report said that Greece was the only EU member-state not to show a stable improvement trend in household income, while gross available household income remained below its 2008 level in several countries among them Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Croatia and the Netherlands.

The report said labour productivity grew 0.8 pct in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016 (in Greece and Portugal labour productivity fell 0.8 pct and 0.5 pct, respectively).