The way how gainful employment is shaped therefore has a key role for a social and just society. Unemployment is the biggest threat for working people. The unemployment rates in the EU--27 show that the risk of losing one’s job exists in greatly varying degrees. They demonstrate the deep social split of Europe. Unemployment has major effects on the personal life of people and the coherence of society. It means loss of income, security, recognition and integration. In view of the “financial crisis” a considerable increase in unemployment in Europe is being predicted at present. 
Facts: The average unemployment rate in the EU-27 was 8.2 % in 2006 and therefore went down compared to the relative maximum of 9.1 % recorded in the year 2004. But there were still considerable differences between the unemployment rates of the individual member states, with the highest rates recorded in Slovakia (13.4 %) and in Poland (13.8 %) and the lowest rates in Denmark and in the Netherlands with 3,9 %. In the majority of the member states the unemployment rate of women is higher than that of men. Unemployment is a major challenge especially for young persons between 15 and 24 years. In 2006 it was 17.2 % and thus clearly higher than the general average. Poland had the highest rate of 29.8 %.  Here approx. every third young person is looking for gainful employment. Slovakia (10.2 %) and Poland (7.8 %) also had the highest long-term unemployment rates – with the average of EU-27 at 3,7 %.[1]

[1]           Cf. ibid. p.. 259