BRUSSELS, (Xinhua) — The labor market in the European Union (EU) continues to gradually improve, thanks to strengthening economic activity, according to a report released by the European Commission on Friday.
According to the report, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.4 percent in the EU during the second quarter of 2015 compared to the first quarter and by 1.9 percent between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015.
Meanwhile, the number of people employed continues to increase, with employment rates rising for all population groups, most notably for older and young workers.
Since its lowest level observed in the first quarter of 2013, the number of persons employed in the EU has risen by 2.0 percent. Thus, there are 4.5 million more employed people today, the report said.
The number of employees on permanent contract increased by 1.9 million between the first quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015. The number of employees on temporary contracts grew by 815,900. The number of full-time workers increased by 1.7 million, outnumbering the increase in part-time workers, which grew by 535,000.
For young people in the EU, employment rates continued to increase to 20.4 percent in August 2015, while the number of unemployed has declined by 448,000.
However, unemployment rates are going down consistently but slowly. The long-term unemployment rate started to decline in the first quarter of 2014 but remained high in the first quarter of 2015, at almost 5.0 percent of the labor force.
Nevertheless, almost 12 million people in the EU have been unemployed for a year and, of these, more than 7 million have been unemployed for more than two years.
“The recent improvements observed in employment are encouraging, in particular for workers aged over 55 and long-term unemployed,” said Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Mobility.
The commissioner said she has proposed to strengthen the support given to the 12 million long-term unemployed and that the EU will take more measures to help improve employment rates of long-term unemployed before the end of the year.