In the year to the second quarter of 2016, an additional 3.2 million (1.4%) people were employed in the EU, including 2.2 million (1.5%) people in the euro area. Employment increased in almost all Member States (except for Croatia, which registered a small decline, and in Finland where it stagnated). Employment in the EU is now above the 2008 level. Yet, the employment rate is still below its 2020 target of 75% and shows large disparities among Member States. There has been a steady increase in the number of permanent jobs (2.7 million) and full-time employment (3.1 million) over the year.
Unemployment in the EU is at its lowest rate (8.6%) since March 2009, with 1.6 million (0.7 pp) fewer unemployed people in the EU compared to last year. Unemployment rates declined in 24 Member States, even though large differences still exist. Long-term unemployment continued to decrease in the year to the first quarter of 2016. It is now 4.2% of the labour force. Youth unemployment also declined in the EU by 1.5 pp and is now 18.6% in the EU. The activity rate continues to increase notably for the older cohort (those aged 55-64). The EU activity rate reached 72.8% in the first quarter of 2016.