For the first time since the beginning of the 2008 economic crisis, the number of Europeans out of work for more than a year has gone down, announced Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs. Between the third quarter of 2013 and the third quarter 2014, long-term unemployment showed a slight dip of 0.2%, settling at 4.9%. The number of people in the European Union who have been unemployed for over a year is still high at 12.4 million, representing half of the 23.8 million unemployed in Europe.
The differences between member States are particularly large. In Greece (19%), Spain (12.6%) and Croatia (9.7%), a substantial part of the workforce is in long-term unemployment, compared to 4.3% in Belgium. Luxembourg and Austria show the best employment performance, with a long-term unemployment rate of only 1.3%.
Marianne Thyssen considers these recently released economic indicators “encouraging”. The total number of unemployed has been dropping for some time now, alongside an increase in the number of fixed and full-time contracts, and a decrease in unemployment among the younger generation. The Belgian Commissioner however cautions against complacency; unemployment among the younger generation is still far too high at 21.1%.