The European economy is creating jobs again. There’s still a long way to go, but the unemployment rate across the EU is at its lowest rate since 2009, with only 8.6% of Europeans unable to find work (compared to a jobless rate of 10.9% in 2013). Eurozone unemployment is higher (10.1%), but still at its lowest level since 2011.
But what kind of jobs are they? We had a comment sent in by Lino, who pointed out that job creation doesn’t matter if people have low wages, poor working conditions, and contracts with poor job security. So, how can we ensure that economic growth delivers high-quality jobs?
We recently had the chance to put Lino’s question to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. Here’s what he had to say:
It’s a competence of national member states and not so much of the EU Commission but, having been a minister of labour for 17 years, I’m very sensitive to this question. That’s why we launched, during the mandate of this commission, a broad consultation for a pillar of minimum social rights for workers. I do believe that flexibility is, from time-to-time, sometimes necessary. But over the last 20 years, there has been a poison in our social relationships nationally and from a European point of view, and that is that sometimes blind flexibility was introduced into labour relations.
My father was a steelworker. If he had been confronted with labour contracts having to be renewed every 6 months, having no security at all as far as the planning of the material part of his life was concerned, I would not have been able to go to university. So, I’m very sensitive to this problem of precariousness… Enterprises and companies ask for security. Workers have to have security too.
How can we make sure the economy creates decent jobs? Are low-quality jobs better than no jobs at all? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!