As of the first quarter of 2023, there were approximately 199 million people in employment in the European Union. This figure marks a significant improvement on the previous years, when unemployment in the EU had risen due to the effects of the Cornavirus pandemic and the global economic recession of 2020. Employment in the EU reached a low point during this period of around 188 million people employed in the second quarter of 2020, since which it has risen rapidly, only declining marginally between quarter four of 2020 and quarter one of 2021, and quarter two and quarter three of 2022.
The recent history of EU employment growth
Total employment in the EU has risen by almost 20 million people since the low point following the great recession and Eurozone crisis in quarter one of 2013. The early 2010s were a particularly difficiult time for the European Union, as the global financial crisis had caused the collapse of property and asset markets, particularly in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain. These countries were in many cases forced to provide extraordinary financial assistance to financial institutions, which ballooned their national debt and finally led to sovereign debt crises, with the ECB and IMF stepping in to provide bailouts. These successive crises, as well as the constrained fiscal approach to solving the crises, led to a prolonged period of falling total employment. As the waves of crises receded, the EU went through a prolonged period of job growth, driven in particular by Germany's period of export-led growth from 2015 onwards, in which total employment grew in the EU consistently from quarter two of 2013 to quarter four of 2019.
Number of employees in the European Union (EU27) from 1st quarter 2009 to 1st quarter 2023
Number of employees in thousands
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Eurostat. (June 20, 2023). Number of employees in the European Union (EU27) from 1st quarter 2009 to 1st quarter 2023 (in 1,000s) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/570993/employees-in-europe/
Eurostat. "Number of employees in the European Union (EU27) from 1st quarter 2009 to 1st quarter 2023 (in 1,000s)." Chart. June 20, 2023. Statista. Accessed November 30, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/570993/employees-in-europe/
Eurostat. (2023). Number of employees in the European Union (EU27) from 1st quarter 2009 to 1st quarter 2023 (in 1,000s). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: November 30, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/570993/employees-in-europe/
Eurostat. "Number of Employees in The European Union (Eu27) from 1st Quarter 2009 to 1st Quarter 2023 (in 1,000s)." Statista, Statista Inc., 20 Jun 2023, https://www.statista.com/statistics/570993/employees-in-europe/
Eurostat, Number of employees in the European Union (EU27) from 1st quarter 2009 to 1st quarter 2023 (in 1,000s) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/570993/employees-in-europe/ (last visited November 30, 2023)
Number of employees in the European Union (EU27) from 1st quarter 2009 to 1st quarter 2023 (in 1,000s) [Graph], Eurostat, June 20, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/570993/employees-in-europe/