Labour market flows in Q4 2020

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the labour market in the EU continued to show indications of a potential recovery.

Between the third and the fourth quarter of 2020, 3.0 million unemployed people in the EU (21.3% of all unemployed in the third quarter of 2020) found a job. During this period, 7.8 million (54.3%) remained unemployed and 3.5 million unemployed people (24.4%) became economically inactive.

Of all those in employment in the third quarter of 2020, 2.3 million (1.5%) became unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2020, and 3.5 million (2.3%) transitioned into economic inactivity.

From those counted as economically inactive in the third quarter of 2020, 3.5 million (3.4%) moved into employment in the fourth quarter of 2020 and 3.4 million (3.4%) transitioned into unemployment.

This information comes from recently published data on labour market flows in the fourth quarter of 2020. The article presents only a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.

The graphic and table below give an overview of all possible transitions and show the changes in labour market status. In the graphic, the figures for employment, unemployment and inactivity refer to the number of people remaining in each status between the two quarters. The grey arrows indicate the direction of net flows. 

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  • Labour market transitions are particularly well placed to describe the developments on the labour market in the COVID-19 crisis situation as they also cover transitions into and out of economic inactivity. Employment and unemployment alone, as defined by the ILO concept, might not be sufficient as a) active measures to contain employment losses could lead to absences from work rather than dismissals, and b) individuals could not search for work or were not available due to the containment measures, thus not counting as unemployed.

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