Self-employed people most affected by the pandemic in EU


Data on the total number of actual working hours in the EU indicates that self-employed people with employees (employers) and self-employed people without employees (own-account workers) were the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with employees.

In the second quarter of 2020, the quarter most severely impacted by the pandemic, the index of working hours for employers and own-account workers dropped to 79 and 80 points respectively (the base value of 100 corresponds to the average computed over the four quarters of 2019 and has been fixed for each professional status separately). The decrease was much milder for employees, with an index reaching 87 points in Q2 2020.

After that second quarter of 2020, the index of working hours for employees grew steadily until Q2 2021 when it reached its base value of 100, while the other two groups of self-employed people saw a decrease in some of the quarters.

In the third quarter of 2021, corresponding to the summer period, the group of employers registered the highest index of working hours (96 points), followed by employees (94 points), the own-account workers recording the lowest index (92 points).

This article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article on the hours of work and absences from work – quarterly statistics.

When comparing the third quarter of 2021 with the same quarter of 2020 and 2019, the number of working hours for employees was around the same level, with no more than a 1-point difference of the index, between Q3 2021, Q3 2020 and Q3 2019.

In the case of employers, the index value in Q3 2021 was the same as in Q3 2019, but 6 points higher than in Q3 2020.

In contrast, own-account workers recorded a decrease of 6 index points between Q3 2019 and Q3 2021, with an intermediate decrease of 3 index points between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021.

For more information: 

Eurostat database on employment and unemployment (LFS)