The new report underlines how young people have borne the brunt of the crisis, with unemployment disproportionately hitting 15-24 year olds and reaching over 30% in some countries. The rise in unemployment combined with limited opportunities to re-enter work has aggravated the risk of a surge in long-term unemployment or people leaving the labour market altogether. The report stresses that it might be some time before we see a clear upswing for jobs. It covers in particular the impact of the labour market recovery measures adopted by Member States since the beginning of the crisis and also structural obstacles faced by young people in EU labour markets.
Assessing the possibilities of reinforcing existing measures, and the necessity of their phasing out as the crisis fades, is even more relevant now in times of fiscal consolidation. The report shows, for instance, that temporary public financial support in the form of in-work subsidies improves job opportunities for all groups, but can be particularly effective if specifically targeted at younger workers. The crisis also highlighted the negative consequences of labour market segmentation between "insiders", or those working in protected regular contracts, and "outsiders", those in temporary jobs
As the report argues, more effective labour market inclusion can be achieved through the implementation of comprehensive flexicurity policy packages. This could include, as set out in the flagship initiative 'Agenda for new skills and jobs', to extend the use of open-ended contractual arrangements with a sufficiently long probation period and a gradual increase of protection rights, access to training, life-long learning and career guidance for all employees. This would aim to reduce the existing divisions between those holding temporary and permanent contracts.
In Malta it is said that demand for new workers remained relatively strong and that unemployment levels were maintained. Long term unemployment in Malta is said to have increased only slightly when compares to most of the other member states. The average working hours have continued to decline. When comparing to the Lisbon target of reaching 70% in employment rate Malta was one of the six Member States which are furthest from the target at 54.9%. Malta is also furthest from the Lisbon target of 60% related to the female employment rate, where Malta qualifies at 37.7%. The report further goes to explain that Malta has therefore the largest gender gap in employment rates together with Italy and Greece where the employment rate for men is more than 20 percentage points higher than that for women. The report explained that in 2009, only 11 Member States had an employment rate for persons aged 55-64 of above 50%. However a considerable number of Member States, including Malta, remain more than 10 percentage points short of the Stockholm target. With a value of less than 30%, however, Malta had the lowest employment rate for older persons among all the Member States, having made no significant improvement since 2000. On a more positive note Malta is one of the Member States where the report said that no decline in self-employment was registered.
The report goes on to explain and compare the schemes, subsidies and incentives for employment, especially for disadvantaged persons, in the Member States together with those of Malta. In Malta, a Rapid Reaction Unit has been set up to assist in training of workers from companies where mass lay-offs have occurred or reduced working-time arrangements are in force. In Malta, long-term unemployed must do community work or lose their benefits.
The report can be found on: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=593&type=2&furtherPubs=no