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Trade, Growth & Jobs | Brussels, 1 June 2015

Over 31 million jobs across Europe supported by EU exports to the world, EU report says

In a new report released today by the European Commission, the increasing importance of EU exports for job opportunities in Europe and elsewhere is highlighted. The report analyses the complex interaction between trade activities, the job markets and income in all EU Member States and comes to the following main conclusions:

  • EU exports to the world are increasingly important for supporting jobs in Europe; these export-related jobs are on average better paid than the jobs in the rest of the economy;
  • Citizens from all Member States, not only from the export ‘powerhouses’, benefit from them. They either work in firms selling directly outside the EU or in firms supplying inputs to exporters. Those may be located both in their own Member State or elsewhere in the EU;
  • With the expansion of global value chains, EU exports support more and more jobs not only in the EU but also in our partner countries.

Summary of main findings:
 

More and more jobs in Europe depend on exports to the rest of the world

  • Between 1995 and 2011, EU jobs supported by exports to the rest of the world increased by 67% to reach 31.1 million. This is 12.5 million additional jobs supported by exports compared to 1995. The share of EU employment supported by sales of goods and services to the rest of the world over total employment increased from 9% in 1995 to 14% in 2011. According to the latest data, one in seven EU jobs was supported either directly or indirectly by exports to the rest of the world.
  • In 2011, the exports to the rest of the world from the manufacturing sector still supported the majority of jobs linked to exports (61%) across the EU. The “machinery, transport equipment” industry supported 9.6 million jobs, the “other non-metallic and basic metals” industry 2.9 million and the “chemicals” sector around 2 million. The contribution of the exports of services has also been increasing: in 2011 they accounted for 36% of the EU employment supported by exports (up from 26% in 1995).
  • On average the EU export-related jobs are better paid than the jobs in the rest of the economy, which reflects the productivity edge of exporting firms. The data for 2009 showed that this compensation premium benefits the export-supported jobs across the full spectrum of skills: 5% for low-skilled jobs, 9% for medium-skilled jobs and 16% for high-skilled jobs
     

The number of jobs supported by exports is increasing in all Member States

  • In 2011 Germany hosted the biggest number of jobs supported by EU exports to the rest of the world (7.1 million), followed by the United Kingdom (3.9 million), Italy (3.1 million), and France (2.6 million).
  • Compared to 1995 the export-supported employment increased in almost all Member States. The Member States with the strongest increases in relative terms between 1995 and 2011 were Luxembourg (296%), Ireland (187%), Malta (147%), Greece (126%), Spain (126%) and Austria (121%).
     

The export competitiveness of each Member State builds on the competitiveness of the others

  • In 2011, on average 84% of the employment supported by extra-EU exports was in the Member State that ultimately exported to the rest of the world (down from 87% in 1995), while the remaining 16% (13% in 1995) of the jobs were in other Member States from where inputs to produce the exports were purchased. In Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Belgium and Poland more than 25% of the employment supported by extra-EU exports was driven by the exports of other Member States. In contrast, in Greece, Cyprus, Ireland and Lithuania it was less than 10%.
  • Germany's economy stands out in terms of intra-EU production exports. In 2011, the exports of Germany to the rest of the word supported around 6.2 million jobs in Germany but also 1.3 million jobs in other Member States: 200,000 jobs in Poland, 140,000 in Italy, 130,000 in the United Kingdom, and 120,000 in both the Czech Republic and France. The sales of goods and services from France to the rest of the world were the second most important driver of export-supported employment in other Member States (around 500,000 jobs), followed by Italy (370,000 jobs) and the United Kingdom (340,000 jobs).
     

EU exports sustain an increasing number of jobs beyond European borders

  • The exports of the EU to the rest of the world support an increasing number of jobs outside its borders: 19.2 million in 2011 (up almost 10 million from 1995). On average each billion euros of EU exports to the rest of the world supported around 8,600 jobs in the rest of the world.
  • There are some marked differences across Member States: each billion euros of extra-EU exports from the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Slovakia and Slovenia supported more than 10,000 jobs in the rest of the world. In contrast each billion euros of exports to the rest of the world from Luxembourg, Romania, Latvia, and Greece and supported less than 6,000 jobs outside the EU.
     

Trading with key partners: a two-way street for jobs

  • In 2011, 35% of the EU employment supported by extra-EU exports was driven by sales to the US (15%), China (10%), Russia (6%), and Turkey (4%). This means that in 2011 almost 4.7 million jobs in the EU were dependent on exports to the US market; over 3 million jobs were dependent on EU sales of goods and services to China, and almost 2 million were dependent on the imports from Russia.
  • The employment supported by US imports is important for all Member States but it is especially striking in Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In those Member States EU exports to the US were responsible for over 20% of the jobs supported by exports (in the case of Ireland it was almost 1 in 4 jobs).

 

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