Amidst the modest economic recovery experienced in recent years, overall employment in the EU has been growing and unemployment has been falling. However, current long-term jobless rates and youth unemployment figures remain unacceptable. Europe's first priority must be to create more numerous, quality jobs. That is particularly testing in the context of structural drivers of change such as technological innovation and globalisation, which 'pose both opportunities and challenges for the world of employment.

Member States are primarily responsible for employment policy. However, the EU works with them to pursue a coordinated strategy: the European employment strategy. The EU encourages cooperation between Member States and supports and evaluates their efforts, mainly through the European Semester, guidelines on employment and the monitoring of national policies (Joint Employment Report, National Reform Programmes and country-specific recommendations).

The European Commission is obliged to consult the EESC on employment issues. The EESC has adopted opinions on all the main initiatives at EU level (e.g. the European Pillar of Social Rights, Guidelines for employment policies, the Employment package, the Youth Guarantee).

Employment issues are usually covered by the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) and more specifically its Labour Market Observatory, which monitors trends and challenges affecting Europe's workforce and labour market.