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Economy in Brief

Employment In The Euro Area
by Louise Curley March 16, 2009

Employment, typically a lagging indicator, declined for the second quarter in the Euro Area. The decline was 453,000 after a decline of 215, 000 in the third quarter. In the United States, comparable figures were declines of 1,261,000 and 700.000. Employment data are available only on a quarterly basis in the EUROSTAT data base while monthly data are available for the U.S. in USECON. The first chart shows the monthly data for the U. S. and the quarterly data for the Euro Area. Unemployment data, for the Euro Area, however, are available on a monthly basis. As the January unemployment rate for the Euro Area increased to 8.2% from the fourth quarter average of 7.9%, employment in the Euro Area in the first quarter of 2009 is likely to show a decline in employment, but probably of a smaller magnitude that that shown for the U. S. in January and February.

During the three years from 2004 through 2006, employment in the Euro Area increased at a slower pace than employment in the U. S. By mid 2007 the two areas had roughly the same employment-- approximately 145 million. Since then both areas began to add fewer employee. The U. S. added fewer employees than the Euro Area and in the second quarter of 2008 began to reduce employment. The Euro area began to reduce employment in the third quarter. By year end employment in the Euro Area was down 0.02% from year end 2007 compared to a reduction of 0.08% in the U.S.. The quarterly percentage changes in employment in the Euro Area and in the U. S. are shown in the second chart.

EMPLOYMENT (in Thousands) Q4 08 Q3 08  Q4 07  Q/Q CHG  Y/Y CHG 2008 2007
United States  143641 144902 145320 0.08 -1.15 144977 145141
Euro Area  145374 145827 145400 -0.02 -- 145790 144633
Y/Y Percent Change (%) Q4 08 Q3 08  Q2 08  Q1 08  Q4 07 -- --
Euro Area -0.01 0.58 1.10 1.49 1.46 -- --
Ireland -- -1.12 -1.0 0.28 2.41 -- --
Spain -2.99 -0.77 0.32 1.66 2.26 -- --
United States  -1.15 -0.10 0.43 0.38 0.26 -- --
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