In 2019 the employment rate of people aged 20 to 64 in the European Union of 27 Member States (EU) stood at 73.1%, up compared with 2018 (72.4%), according to Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU. In Cyprus the rate is 75.7% (81.7% for males and 70.1% for females) exceeding the national goal set at 75.0 for the year 2020. In the age group 55 to 64 years, the rates are 61.1% (72.0% and 50.7% respectively).
The Europe 2020 strategy target is to reach a total employment rate for people aged 20 to 64 of at least 75% in the EU by 2020. This objective has been translated into different national targets in order to reflect the situation and possibilities of each Member State to contribute to the common goal.
Accoridng to Eurostat, the upward trend in the employment rate is visible both for men and women in the period up to 2019. The employment rate for men hit 79.0% in 2019, having increased steadily since 2013. As for women, their employment rate continuously rose since 2010 to reach 67.3% in 2019. Similarly, the employment rate of persons aged 55 to 64 in the EU grew steadily, from 35.0% in 2000 to 59.1% in 2019. The greater participation of older workers is also one of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy on employment.
Compared with 2018, the employment rate for those aged 20 to 64 increased in 2019 in all Member States with the exception of Sweden, where it fell slightly (-0.3 percentage points, pp), though remaining on a very high level.
It grew most strongly in Bulgaria (+2.6 pp), Cyprus (+1.8 pp), Greece and Malta (both +1.7 pp) and Croatia (+ 1.5 pp).
The highest employment rates were recorded in Sweden (82.1%), Germany (80.6%), Czechia (80.3%), Estonia (80.2%) and the Netherlands (80.1%).
These five countries also exceeded their national targets for this indicator, as was the case for Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.
On the other hand, the lowest employment rate was observed in Greece (61.2%), although it grew over the year (+1.7 pp), followed by Italy (63.5%, +0.5 pp), Croatia (66.7%, +1.5 pp) as well as Spain (68.0%, +1.0 pp).
Employment rates of men and women, however, varied considerably in many Member States in 2019. The difference between the employment rate of women and men aged 20 to 64 was lowest in Lithuania (77.4% for women vs. 79.0% for men, or -1.6 pp), Finland (-2.7 pp), Latvia (-3.8 pp) and Sweden (-4.7 pp). At the opposite end of the scale, the largest difference between the employment rate of women and men was observed in Greece and Malta (both -20.0 pp). Big gaps were also recorded in Italy (-19.6 pp) and Romania (-19.0 pp). At EU level, the difference between the employment rate of women aged 20 to 64 (67.3%) and that of men aged 20 to 64 (79.0%) was -11.7 pp in 2019.
From 35.0% in 2000, the employment rate of people aged 55 to 64 in the EU grew steadily to reach 59.1% in 2019. The growth was stronger for women (from 25.4% in 2000 to 52.6% in 2019) than for men (45.2% in 2000 vs. 66.0% in 2019). As a consequence, the gap between the employment rate of women and men aged 55 to 64 in the EU has been reduced, from a -19.8 pp difference in 2000 to a -13.4 pp difference in 2019.
In 2019, over half of the population aged 55 to 64 were in employment in twenty-one EU Member States. The highest employment rate for this age group was observed in Sweden (77.7%), ahead of Germany (72.7%), Estonia (72.5%) and Denmark (71.3%). On the other hand, the lowest employment rates were registered in Luxembourg (43.1%), Greece (43.2%) and Croatia (43.9%). Compared with 2018, the employment rate for those aged 55 to 64 increased in 2019 in all EU Member States with the exception of Sweden.