The employment rate is an important indicator when studying developments within labour markets. This indicator estimates the proportion of the working age population between the ages of 20 and 64 that is currently in employment (defined as having worked at least one hour in the reference week). This may include people who are: employed in a traditional waged role; self-employed; or unpaid staff working for family-owned businesses.

Given that the employment rate expressed as a percentage it allows for comparisons across countries. The indicator reflects the interplay between a number of factors, such as the impact of economic policies on employment levels; the extent to which policies are in place to assist particular groups gain entry to employment (e.g. family friendly policies for people with young children); and cultural factors, amongst many others. As a result, the employment rate provides important contextual data about the operation of labour markets across the EU, and the way they are affected by different conditions and events.

The 20-64 age band has been purposefully selected in order to provide a measurement consistent with the Europe 2020 strategy target on employment, as the European Union has set a target of 75 per cent of 20 to 64 year olds to be in work by 2020.

Note: All estimations are Skills intelligence Team own calculations based on Eurostat data.