According to Eurostat’s labor force survey, Bulgaria had the highest employment growth rate for people aged 20-64 in the European Union in 2017. Bulgaria’s employment rose by 3.6% and reached 71.3%. EU’s average employment rate was 72.2%, given that the target of the Europe 2020 strategy is the total employment rate of people aged 20-64 in the EU to reach 75% by 2020.
The countries with the largest increase in employment after Bulgaria are Slovenia (3.3 percentage points), Portugal (2.8 percentage points), Romania (2.5 percentage points), Croatia (2.2 percentage points) and Estonia (2.1 percentage points).
The upward employment trend is apparent both for men and women. For men, employment rose to 78% in 2017, compared to 76.9% in 2016, thus reaching the 2008 employment rate. For women, the employment rate has been going up steadily since 2010, reaching 66.5% last year.
The employment rate for the age group 55-64 reached 57.1%. The greater participation of older people in the labor market is part of the Europe 2020 strategy, given the fact that in 2002 the number of employees in this age group was barely 38.4%.