Baltic Sea Region Territorial Monitoring System

Employment rate (20-64 years)

Indicator definition

This indicator, sometimes also called employment-to-population ratio, is defined as the number of employed persons aged 20 to 64 in relation to overall working age population aged 20 to 64.

Indicator importance

This indicator is used to describe the labour market performance. For many economist´s it is the best indicator to describe dynamics within the labour market, as it accounts not only for full-time positions but accounts for any employed person that at least worked one hour “gainful” in a week. Consequently this is an official indicator in the EU SDS and is furthermore headline indicator of EU2020 strategy for Smart Growth, aiming at a rate of 75% employment in working age population.


BSR employment rates in 2012 are mostly lower (not higher 70%) in Poland, Latvia Lithuania but also in Pohjois-Suomi. In the remaining BSR, incl. the Russian oblasts and Belarus the rates are higher exceeding the highest levels (over 80%) in Norway, Sweden and Russia (St Petersburg).
In the ESPON area, decrease of employment from 2005 to 2012 has occurred on a large part of their territory: Baltic States, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.
In remaining countries the picture is mixed. Italy, Macedonia and Poland have succeeded to increase employment remarkably in several regions. For the BSR, the overall picture in terms of employment rate changes is mixed. Belarus, but also mostly Denmark, Finland and Germany have avoided decrease of employment despite of the crisis. The Baltic States have been hit most seriously. At the same time, Poland has succeeded to increase employment remarkably in several regions.
The map of regional employment rate typology is very difficult for visual interpreting. The situation can be easily assessed outside the EU where the only 75% threshold plays, but inside the EU the same green color scale is related not to 75% (EU) target but national targets. The latter is set with the different ambitiousness in various countries from 71 to 80%. Trying to generalize, despite the difficulties:
• Outside EU (Norway, Russia, Belarus) most regions have already reached or are likely to reach 75%, except for Leningrad oblast and eastern Belarus.
• In the EU, most countries have more difficulties to reach targets (whatever the level of their ambitiousness is) in their periphery.
•  The EU target will, if the extrapolation of the trend holds, not met in the Baltic States, most of Poland, periphery Finland and Denmark