EU employment highest on record

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Employment in the 28-nation European Union increased to the highest on record in the second quarter, the bloc’s executive arm said on Thursday.

The number of people with jobs in the region increased 1.5% in the April through June period compared with the same time last year, the European Commission said in its Quarterly Review on Employment and Social Developments in Europe. That means 235.4 million people are working.

“More people than ever before in Europe have a job and unemployment has reached a nine-year low,” Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said in a statement. “We see 2.2 million more employees with permanent contracts compared to last year. We need to continue on this path and improve the economic and social conditions for all.”

On April 26 the Commission presented the European Pillar of Social Rights — 20 key principles and rights to support “fair and well-functioning” labour markets and welfare systems.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on September 13 that member states should agree on the pillar “as soon as possible” and “at the latest” by the time of the Social Summit for Far Jobs and Growth in Gothenburg, Sweden on November 17.

In a separate statement Luxembourg-based eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, said the business investment rate in the 19 countries using the euro currency was 23.2% in the second quarter compared with 22.9% in the previous period.

The business investment rate is calculated by dividing gross investment by gross value added of non-financial corporations.