The first wave of the Covid pandemic eliminated six million jobs across the EU, particularly impacting sectors dominated by temporary contractors, young people and female employees, according to a study conducted by an EU agency.
Eurofound, which works to provide the EU with knowledge to help craft social, employment and work-related policies, investigated the impact the pandemic has had, with findings showing it did more damage at times than the 2008-9 financial crisis.
While the study showed that the ability to work from home and support provided by governments across the bloc helped to protect some jobs, it also saw some workers become inactive in their professional career, rather than be factored into unemployment statistics.
“In the 12 months leading up to spring 2020, EU employment declined by 2.4%,” the study found, with “the share of workers employed but not working more than doubled to 17%,” and weekly hours for employees falling, on average, by “nearly one hour.”
Eurofound suggested that the findings reflect the risk of another “lost generation” being created after “younger workers experienced the sharpest declines in employment,” urging governments to look at ways to rectify the damage caused by the Covid pandemic.
The survey also expressed concerns about the potential exacerbation of existing inequalities, as the jobs that are likely to be protected by remote working in urban environments are more likely to be held by better educated workers.
Q4 2019 employment figures stood at 201 million workers, according to Eurofound, with the unemployment rate increasing from 6.6 percent at that point to 6.7 percent in the latest round of data.
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