Compared to the same quarter of 2019, between April and May, the period of paralysis of economic activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, employment fell by 3.1 percent in the euro zone and 2.9 percent in the EU, after growing by 0.4 percent in both in the first three months of the year, the biggest falls since the beginning of the time series in 1995.

The number of people in employment fell by 2.9 percent in the euro zone and 2.7 percent in the EU compared with the first quarter, further quarter-on-quarter highs and aggravating the fall in the indicator already reported between January and March (0.3 percent in the euro zone and 0.2 percent in the EU).

Spain (-7.6 percent), Hungary (-5.6 percent), Austria (-4.0 percent), Ireland (-3.9 percent) and Portugal, Italy and Estonia (-3.6 percent each) showed the largest declines, with Malta recording the only year-on-year rise in employment (4.2 percent).

Compared to the first quarter, the employment rate increased only in Malta (0.6 percent), with the largest falls being seen in Spain (-7.5 percent), Ireland (-6.1 percent), Hungary (-5.3 percent) and Estonia (-5.1 percent).

In Portugal it fell by 3.4 percent compared to the first quarter.

Portugal showed the third largest year-on-year fall (-22.6 percent) in the number of hours worked, after Greece (-29.8 percent) and Spain (-24.6 percent).