The ranks of the working poor

Since the Great Recession, the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union have returned to growth. Investment and trade are up and labour markets have followed suit. Even in crisis-hit countries such as Spain and Italy, unemployment is falling.

But the jobless rate masks a harsh reality: employment is rising but poverty is not declining. A key finding of the 2019 report Social Justice in the EU and OECD, recently published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, is that being in work is no longer a guarantee of comfortable living standards.

Social safety nets, eroded by the crisis, have not kept pace with changing employment structures. With a new recession potentially on the horizon, governments need to examine labour-market policies, if the poorest are not yet again to bear the brunt of the next downturn.

Social Europe