Restructuring measures appear increasingly to be affecting public sector employment as a result of widespread public spending restrictions and cuts.
Unemployment in the European Union has been stable at 9.6% over the last six months but labour market performance continues to vary widely across EU countries. Some are experiencing robust growth, notably Sweden, Poland and Germany, while others have stagnant or contracting economies, even when not technically in recession – such as Greece, Ireland and Spain.
Over the last quarter (1 October to 31 December 2010), the European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) reported 304 cases of restructuring of which 172 were cases of restructuring involving job loss. Total announced job losses were approximately 88,0000 in the quarter as against announced job creation of just over 47,000.The public administration sector reported by far the largest number of announced job losses (23,000) followed by health and social work (6,126), construction (6,045) auto manufacturing (6,018) and financial intermediation (5,282 jobs).
As in the previous quarter, the second-ranking sector was computer and related activities with 7,121 job gains, just ahead of the retail sector recording another 6,306 new jobs.The report launched by the Eurofund (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) also provides a sector focus on the European postal sector. It has undergone considerable restructuring in recent years, driven by EU directives fixing deadlines to remove legal monopolies on all postal services.