The European Journal of Comparative Economics
ISSN: 1824-2979
Year: 2004, December. Volume: 1 - Issue: 2

Employment Performance and Convergence in the European Countries and Regions

Cristiano Perugini ; Marcello Signorelli

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Start page: 243 - End page: 278

Employment performance; employment convergence; regional labour markets
This paper analyzes the national and regional (NUTS-2) employment performance and convergence for various aggregations of 27 European countries (EU-25, plus Romania and Bulgaria), mainly using the three employment rates (total, female, older worker) adopted by the European Employment Strategy (EES). At the national level, this analysis confirmed the existence of considerable differences in employment performance between and within the various country aggregations. Empirical analysis highlighted the remarkable net job creations in the EU-15 (and EMU-12) for the period 1997-2003, accompanied by a (national) convergence for all three employment indicators. As regards total employment rates, significant converging trends also emerge at the regional level for both EU-15 and EMU-12 aggregations. In the eight Central European Countries, new EU members (8 CEC-NM), a diverging trend in the total employment rate began in 1999, whereas converging dynamics were limited to the employment rate of older workers in the period 1998-2001. Regional analyses showed significant diverging dynamics in the total employment rates (1999-2003) for the eight CEC-NM regions. At the national level of analyses, the relationship between "progress in transition" and employment performance was also briefly examined. Results show that a simple, stable correlation does not exist. However, a weak U-shaped relationship existing in 1998 shifted downward and evolved toward a positive link in 2003. The main results of cluster analysis of the 53 regions of the ten CECs confirmed a high level of regional labour market diversification, and the fact that sector structure affects employment performance significantly

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