European Restructuring Monitor Quarterly - 2011, Issue 1

Hurley J, Riso S, Salvatore L, Miginis M, Parker J, Broughton A |  Issue 1, Spring | European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions | Apr 2011

Nearly two years after the technical end of the ‘Great Recession’, there were increasingly divergent patterns of recovery across the EU. Member States in the German – central Europe – Baltic axis were enjoying strong growth and improving labour markets while the debt-laden ‘periphery’ had stagnated amidst serial announcements of retrenchment.

The contrasts were especially apparent in the labour market where the key indicator ranged from near full employment in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Austria (all below 5% unemployment) to over 20% unemployment in Spain. Overall, unemployment had finally begun to decline though the rate of decline was considerably slower than in the United States.

The fact that the EU had been the first of the major economic blocs to wean itself off post-crisis stimulus continued to cast a shadow over prospects for a robust recovery. Public sector employment – resilient during the crisis – in particular was vulnerable as evidenced by the high number of public sector restructuring announcements on the ERM in this and recent quarters.

But there were more hopeful omens, notably in the strong recovery of the Baltic States, and the resilience of the German economy, which had exerted a positive influence on neighbouring countries.

In this edition of the ERM quarterly, we describe some positive recent developments in the IT sector where looming skill shortages were more of a concern than unemployment. We also showcase a potentially interesting industrial restructuring project at the old Fiat plant at Termini Imerese in Sicily.