The EU saw an annual decline of 0.7 percentage point in employment between the ages of 20 and 64 in 2020, according to official figures released on Wednesday.
Eurostat said the figure for men in this age group fell to 78.1% last year, from 79% in 2019.
In 2020, the employment rate of women aged 20 to 64 was 66.8%, below 67.3% in 2019 in the EU.
“This development has resulted in the employment gap between men and women narrowing further, to 11.3pp (percentage points), from 11.7pp in 2019,” he said.
The statistics office said the labor market in the bloc has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Among its member states, Sweden had the highest employment rate of 80.8%, while the lowest was in Greece at 61.1%.
Spain suffered the biggest drop in employment in the bloc with 2.3 percentage points to 65.7% between 2019 and 2020. It was followed by Ireland with a decline of 1.7 percentage points to 73.4% and Bulgaria, which fell by 1.6 percentage points to 73.4%.
Only Malta, Poland and Croatia managed to increase their respective employment rates among the 27 EU member countries.
The Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Distribution System (HAS), and in summary form. Please contact us for subscription options.