European Labour Market Barometer: Hope for an end to the downturn in Europe
Compared to the previous month, the European Labour Market Barometer rose by 1.1 points in February. Standing at 99.3 points, the leading indicator of the European Network of Public Employment Services and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) thus no longer suggests a significant downturn of the European labour market in the coming months.
"The public employment services in Europe expect the pressure on labour markets to ease with the relaxation of the restrictions after the second Covid wave and the prospect of increasing vaccinations," says IAB head of forecast Enzo Weber, who initiated the European barometer. In the vast majority of participating countries, the outlook improved or at least remained stable. Nevertheless, the European Labour Market Barometer does not point to a recovery of the European labour market yet. In addition, there are risks of a renewed increase in the dynamics of infections, which became clearer after the end of the survey period in mid-February.
In February, the European Labour Market Barometer's sub-indicator for the development of employment increased significantly by 1.2 points thus reaching 99.4 points. This is the first time since July 2020 that it lies above the sub-indicator for the development of unemployment figures, which reached a level of 99.1 points after an increase of 0.8 points. "During the Corona crisis, many workers across Europe withdrew from the labour market completely. Now the improved employment outlook gives hope that they can be partially reactivated and that the process is stopped," Weber explains.
The European Labour Market Barometer is a monthly leading indicator based on a survey among the local or regional employment agencies in 16 participating public employment services. The survey is carried out jointly by the employment services and the IAB since June 2018. Participating countries include Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Belgium-DG, Belgium-Flanders, Germany, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, and Belgium-Wallonia. While component A of the barometer signals the development of the seasonally adjusted unemployment figures for the next three months, component B forecasts employment trends. The average of the components "unemployment" and "employment" constitutes the total value of the barometer. This indicator thus provides an outlook on the overall development of the labour market. The scale ranges from 90 (very poor development) to 110 (very good development). First, a barometer score for each of the participating employment services is determined. The European barometer is then derived from these national scores in form of a weighted average.