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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure EU-2021-11/1921 – measures in European Union

7 million European jobs in danger due to COVID-19

Country European Union , applies eu-wide (or beyond)
Time period Open ended, started on 10 March 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Barbara Surdykowska and Eurofound
Measure added 17 June 2021 (updated 29 June 2021)

Background information

The skills forecast of the European Center for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) predicts that in 2019-22 almost 7 million jobs in the EU will be lost or not created due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Cedefop, despite the launch of vaccination programs, the economic consequences of the pandemic are expected to continue, influencing employment trends and investment decisions for a wide range of businesses in Europe for the foreseeable future. A comparison of employment trends based on the skills forecast for 2020 and the COVID-19 scenario shows that the employment impact of the pandemic across the EU is expected to be significant for at least the next two years. According to Cedefop's assessment, not all sectors of the economy will be equally affected, as the Coronavirus has 'privileged' jobs in sectors and occupations that are flexible enough to adapt to the new norms of social distancing and teleworking.

The full results of the skills forecast COVID-19 scenario work, up to 2030, will be published later this year.

Content of measure

In the light of Cedefop's research, the situation of individual sectors varies. Over the next two years, the 'accommodation and food service' sector is the one most affected due to prolonged closure. Employment in the 'manufacturing' and 'distribution and transport' sectors - which are among the largest in terms of employment in the EU, as well as the sectors most affected - are expected to remain well below what they would have been in the absence of the pandemic.

This reflects the widespread inability of these sectors to work remotely or socially distancing, which is likely to hamper their functioning. It also underlines their dependence on consumer spending, which is expected to decline in the coming years due to the accumulated debt of households during the crisis. Similarly, economic activities such as 'real estate activities', 'science and technology' and 'administration and support services' are among the sectors most affected by the crisis, which shows how the business environment has been slowed down by COVID-19 .

The 'non-market services' sectors (health, public administration and education), which accounted for around 25% of employment in the EU in 2019, are among sectors where the impact on employment is expected to be the lowest compared to the pre-COVID estimate. This is due both to the inherent necessity of these sectors to fight the pandemic (mainly health, but also public administration) and to the higher level of employment protection traditionally enjoyed by public sector activity.

Use of measure


Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
Public employment service
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


Social partners were involved in this analysis since the participate in Cedefop governance.

Views and reactions

There was no reaction of social partners on this forecast.


  • 10 March 2021: Coronavirus impact on jobs in EU sectors and occupations: a skills forecast analysis (


Eurofound (2021), 7 million European jobs in danger due to COVID-19, measure EU-2021-11/1921 (measures in European Union), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.