Growth, employment and the single market – why does it matter?
By removing cross-border barriers to the movement of goods, services, people and capital, the single market increases competition and generates allocative efficiency. This helps increase the level and quality of growth and employment in the EU economy.
The indicators in this section measure the performance of the single market by looking at its growth both in terms of value added and employment. Important social indicators that look at the progress achieved in terms of type of employment (e.g. permanent or temporary), wage development and safety at work usefully complement the analysis of performance.
In 2021 the EU industry and services sectors recovered quickly (industry growth: 7.3%, services growth: 4.7%) from the fall driven by the pandemic containment measures in 2020. They grew faster than in the last decade.
Employment grew by 0.7% in 2021, i.e. stronger than in Japan and the UK, but far below the growth experienced in the USA. In the EU, employment growth over the last decade has been driven by large enterprises, while SME employment has remained fairly stable over the last years.
Between 2014 and 2021, net earnings in the EU for the three categories of households considered (single with no kids, one-earner couple with two kids, and two-earner couple with two kids) displayed a 16% growth. Other social indicators point to an overall improvement as regards the creation of permanent employment, health and safety at work, and gender balance.
Employment and social indicators
Wage levels and development
This indicator measures annual net earnings in purchasing power standard for persons earning 100% of the average earnings of a specific category of households.
The left chart provides data for the EU, the US, the UK and Japan (data for the UK refers to 2019).
The right chart details the EU growth rates for the three categories of households.
Health and safety at work
This indicator shows the percentage of persons employed or previously employed affected by accidents at work (left chart) and work-related health problems (right chart).
The charts show the EU average and the figures for the Member States with the smallest (min) and the biggest (max) values, respectively.