OREANDA-NEWS. October 13, 2015. Labour markets and social indicators in the EU continue to gradually improve, benefitting from the strengthening in economic activity, according to the September 2015 edition of the Quarterly Employment and Social Situation Review. GDP grew by 0.4% in the EU during the second quarter of 2015 compared to the first quarter and by 1.9% between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015. The number of people employed continues to increase overall, with employment rates increasing for all population groups, including notably for older and young workers.

Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility commented: "The recent improvements observed in employment are encouraging, in particular for workers aged over 55 and long-term unemployed. These groups often encounter greater difficulties to come back to the labour market and need particular attention. Last month I proposed to strengthen the support given to the 12 million long-term unemployed in Europe. I am optimistic that the Council will agree on our proposal which can contribute to further improvements in employment rates of long-term unemployed before the end of the year".

Since its lowest level observed in the first quarter of 2013, the number of persons employed in the EU has risen by 2%. There are today 4.5 million more employed people. Between the first quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, the number of employees with a permanent contract increased by 1.9 million. The number of employees on temporary contracts grew by 815,900. The number of full-time workers increased by 1.7 million, outnumbering the increase in part-time workers, which grew by 535, 000.

Employment rates have increased for all population groups and again more noticeably for older workers. Unemployment rates continue to go down slowly but consistently since mid-2013. Youth employment rates continue to increase and their unemployment has notably declined by 448,000 youths in the EU over the year, to reach 20.4% in August 2015.

The long term unemployment rate started to decline in the first quarter of 2014 but remains high in the first quarter of 2015, at almost 5% of the labour force. The rate of those unemployed for more than two years has seen a modest decrease when compared to the first quarter of 2014. This is the first decrease seen since 2008. Nevertheless, almost 12 million people in the EU have been unemployed for a year and of these more than 7 million have been unemployed for more than 2 years.