European Union employers saved 2.1 million jobs by cutting hours during the Great Recession, according to Societe Generale.
The cuts compared sharply to the downturn around 2000-2001, where hours were only cut 0.4%, rather than the 3.7% cut in this time period. In that downturn, employment actually rose by 0.2%, while it fell by 2.2% during the Great Recession.
Had those hours not been cut, data shows that job losses would have spiked in the eurozone to 5.9 million, according to Societe Generale. Job losses were actually at 3.8 million.
Note the sharp dip in hours worked, but the much more modest dip in unemployment during the lows of the recession.
Photo: Societe Generale
What this means for the eurozone economies may be that, while employment growth has been weak, that may be misleading as to wage growth and potential consumer spending.
From Societe Generale:
The likely implication is that compensation per employee is like to continue to grow more strongly than hourly wages and employment would suggest. In other words, household income prospects are better than employment trends would suggest.