Eurostat: Bulgaria had strongest growth in employment in EU in 2019

Growth in the employment rate of people aged 20 to 64 in Bulgaria was the strongest in the European Union in 2019, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on April 21.

The employment rate in Bulgaria rose by 2.6 percentage points in 2019, Eurostat said.

Bulgaria had an employment rate last year of 75 per cent. Its Europe 2020 strategy target is to reach an employment rate of 76 per cent.

The figure for Bulgaria put it above the EU average employment rate in 2019.

Compared with 2018, the employment rate for those aged 20 to 64 increased in 2019 in all EU countries with the exception of Sweden, where it fell slightly (-0.3 percentage points, pp), though remaining on a very high level.

The increase in Bulgaria was followed by those in Cyprus (+1.8 pp), Greece and Malta (both +1.7 pp) and Croatia (+ 1.5 pp).

The highest employment rates were in Sweden (82.1 per cent), Germany (80.6 per cent), Czech Republic (80.3 per cent), Estonia (80.2 per cent) and the Netherlands (80.1 per cent). These five countries also exceeded their national targets for this indicator, as was the case for Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

On the other hand, the lowest employment rate was in Greece (61.2 per cent), although it grew over the year (+1.7pp), followed by Italy (63.5 per cent, +0.5pp), Croatia (66.7 per cent, +1.5pp) as well as Spain (68 per cent, +1.0pp).

In 2019, the year before Covid-19 containment measures were widely introduced by EU member states, the employment rate of people aged 20 to 64 in the EU of 27 member states was 73.1 per cent, up compared with 2018 (72.4 per cent), Eurostat said.

The Europe 2020 strategy target is to reach a total employment rate for people aged 20 to 64 of at least 75 per cent in the EU by 2020.

(Photo: St Mattox/

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