Among the EU Member States in 2011, underemployed part-time work was highest in Ireland (6.3 % of the labour force) according to the latest EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review. The Review also shows that Ireland’s youth unemployment rate is among the highest in the EU (over 30%).
Social Justice Ireland again draws attention to its conviction that while the economic sluggishness currently being experienced by many countries in the EU is in part due to the international economy being weak, it is in far greater measure due to the failure of the economic model being followed in trying to address the crisis.
Without investment there will be no jobs. Without jobs there will be no recovery. Without a recovery many EU countries , including Ireland, will be forced to continue their current austerity programmes indefinitely. This is true of Ireland and of many other EU member states at this time.
According to this Review (dated September 2012) youth unemployment remains a serious challenge in most countries, hitting historic highs in some. The youth unemployment rate is now over 15 % in all but five countries (Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Malta and Denmark). At the other extreme, unemployment affects more than 30 % of active young persons in Slovakia, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland. In Greece and Spain, the number of the young unemployed has even exceeded that of the young employed for more than six months (youth unemployment rate higher than 50 %).
According to the Review the employment and social situation in the EU remained very serious in the second quarter of 2012, while divergence remains persistent between Member States.
The EU has been in recession or on the verge of it since late 2011 and the overall economic sentiment is at its lowest level in three years. In this context, employment is subdued compared to last year and job-finding prospects remain poor compared to pre-crisis years.
Especially worrying is the fact that unemployment is still on the rise and has climbed to 25.3 million, a historically high level. At 10.4% at EU level, the unemployment rate rose in 17 Member States and disparities have again widened. Long-term unemployed now account for 4.5 % of the active population (+0.4 pp over the year).
Beside the unemployed, there were some 8.6 million underemployed part-time workers in 2011, and a further 10.9 million people were in a grey zone between inactivity and unemployment, e.g. those who have given up searching for work.
Youth unemployment is still at a dramatic level - 22.5% in the EU in July. The gloomy outlook for the young reflects growing risks of long-term unemployment and inactivity, as indicated by the rise in the number of young people neither in employment nor in education and training (NEET).
Gross household disposable income declined in two-thirds of EU countries between 2009 and 2011. The share of the EU population experiencing financial distress remains historically high. Citizens of the countries affected by the steepest income declines are also generally more likely to have negative perceptions of their social situation, as the 2012 Eurobarometer on the Social Climate shows.