Manufacturing Drives Europe Recovery, UK Lags

The manufacturing sector is driving growth in the European job market, with Germany leading the continent in employment growth for the sixth month in a row, according to analysis from recruitment firm Monster Europe.

manufacturing worker
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Service economies, including the UK and the Netherlands, are showing a more labored recovery.

Employment in Germany is up 42 percent on May last year, with employment in Sweden and France up by 20 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

By contrast, the UK, Netherlands and Belgium show far slower growth of below five percent compared to last year.

The figures highlight Europe's two-speed economic recovery, which is increasing the pressures on Brussels' policymakers.

The ECB in particular is faced with balancing the requirements of a German economy which is powering ahead in an export-led recovery, with the peripheral countries that are still mired in the downturn, with large budget deficits, sovereign debt crises and flat or negative growth,

"Some of the industrial sectors, manufacturing, transport and logistics are leading the way," Alan Townsend, vice president of business operations at Monster Europe, told

"(This is) very much driven by the fact that the economies performing the best are the export driven economies. Sweden is slightly more of a high tech economy, but there is significant demand for engineers in that market."

"The areas where the UK and the Netherlands have been particularly strong, in the service sector, still seem relatively soft in terms of demand. In addition to that, we're starting to see a number of countries, not just the UK, starting to reduce the number of public sector vacancies that are available, so we're seeing a slight decline in the public sector and defense communities," Townsend said.

Job opportunities in London were up only two percent on last year, according to Monster's figures, which could be reflective of a slower recovery in financial services.

Separately, research by eFinancialCareers claimed that vacancies in banking and finance in the City of London rose by a third in the first three months to April.

"I think at the beginning of the year there was growth at some of the higher levels, as maybe some of the investment banking services started to recover, but that was being offset by what we were seeing over the last few days, which is that the retail banking end is reducing their cost base," Townsend said.

"We're still bumping along… we're in for another twelve months of watch and see. The strong are getting stronger, and they're still looking to hire the top people. The struggle is going to come when we get a whole new raft of graduates coming onto the market looking for roles in September. How many genuine graduate jobs are going to be available in the UK economy."