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Tue, 20 May, 2014 02:59:14 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, May 20

The employment rate of the population aged 20 to 64 in the European Union (EU) fell to 68.3 percent in 2013, its lowest level in a decade, Eurostat said Monday.

     According to the official EU statistics agency, the employment rate rose steadily from 66.7 percent in 2002 to 70.3 percent in 2008, then fell with the financial crisis to 68.9 percent, and has continued to slide since.

     Eurostat said Germany and Malta were the only member states with a nearly steady growth in the employment rate from 2002 to 2013.

     Meanwhile, the pattern for the 55 to 64 age group in the EU is quite different, with the employment rate growing steadily from 38.1 percent in 2002 to 50.1 percent in 2013.

     Eurostat stressed the divergence of the employment rates in EU member states has increased since the financial crisis, with a difference between the highest and the lowest employment rates surging from 19.4 percentage points in 2010 to 26.6 percentage points in 2013.

     The Europe 2020 strategy target is to have an employment rate of at least 75 percent in the EU by 2020.

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