The $16 Trillion European Union Economy
The European Union has the third-largest economy in the world, accounting for one-sixth of global trade. All together, 27 member countries make up one internal market allowing free movement of goods, services, capital and people.
But how did this sui generis (a class by itself) political entity come into being?
A Brief History of the EU
After the devastating aftermath of the World War II, Western Europe saw a concerted move towards regional peace and security by promoting democracy and protecting human rights.
Crucially, the Schuman Declaration was presented in 1950. The coal and steel industries of Western Europe were integrated under common management, preventing countries from turning on each other and creating weapons of war. Six countries signed on — the eventual founders of the EU.
Here’s a list of all 27 members of the EU and the year they joined.
|Country||Year of entry|
Greater economic and security cooperation followed over the next four decades, along with the addition of new members. These tighter relationships disincentivized conflict, and Western Europe—after centuries of constant war—has seen unprecedented peace for the last 80 years.
The modern version of the EU can trace its origin to 1993, with the adoption of the name, ‘the European Union,’ the birth of a single market, and the promise to use a single currency—the euro.
Since then the EU has become an economic and political force to reckon with. Its combined gross domestic product (GDP) stood at $16.6 trillion in 2022, after the U.S. ($26 trillion) and China ($19 trillion.)
Front Loading the EU Economy
For the impressive numbers it shows however, the European Union’s economic might is held up by three economic giants, per data from the International Monetary Fund. Put together, the GDPs of Germany ($4 trillion), France ($2.7 trillion) and Italy ($1.9 trillion) make up more than half of the EU’s entire economic output.
These three countries are also the most populous in the EU, and together with Spain and Poland, account for 66% of the total population of the EU.
Here’s a table of all 27 member states and the percentage they contribute to the EU’s gross domestic product.
|Rank||Country||GDP (Billion USD)||% of the EU Economy|
The top-heaviness continues. By adding Spain ($1.3 trillion) and the Netherlands ($990 billion), the top five make up nearly 70% of the EU’s GDP. That goes up to 85% when the top 10 countries are included.
That means less than half of the 27 member states make up $14 trillion of the $16 trillion EU economy.
Older Members, Larger Share
Aside from the most populous members having bigger economies, another pattern emerges, with the time the country has spent in the EU.
Five of the six founders of the EU—Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium—are in the top 10 biggest economies of the EU. Ireland and Denmark, the next entrants into the union (1973) are ranked 9th and 11th respectively. The bottom 10 countries all joined the EU post-2004.
The UK—which joined the bloc in 1973 and formally left in 2020—would have been the second-largest economy in the region at $3.4 trillion.
Sectoral Analysis of the EU
The EU has four primary sectors of economic output: services, industry, construction, and agriculture (including fishing and forestry.) Below is an analysis of some of these sectors and the countries which contribute the most to it. All figures are from Eurostat.
Services and Tourism
The EU economy relies heavily on the services sector, accounting for more than 70% of the value added to the economy in 2020. It also is the sector with the highest share of employment in the EU, at 73%.
In Luxembourg, which has a large financial services sector, 87% of the country’s gross domestic product came from the services sector.
Tourism economies like Malta and Cyprus also had an above 80% share of services in their GDP.
Meanwhile 20% of the EU’s gross domestic product came from industry, with Ireland’s economy having the most share (40%) in its GDP. Czechia, Slovenia and Poland also had a significant share of industry output.
Mining coal and lignite in the EU saw a brief rebound in output in 2021, though levels continued to be subdued.
|Rank||Sector||% of the EU Economy|
|4.||Agriculture, forestry and fishing||1.8%|
Less than 2% of the EU’s economy relies on agriculture, forestry and fishing. Romania, Latvia, and Greece feature as contributors to this sector, however the share in total output in each country is less than 5%. Bulgaria has the highest employment (16%) in this sector compared to other EU members.
The EU imports nearly 60% of its energy requirements. Until the end of 2021, Russia was the biggest exporter of petroleum and natural gas to the region. After the war in Ukraine that share has steadily decreased from nearly 25% to 15% for petroleum liquids and from nearly 40% to 15% for natural gas, per Eurostat.
Headwinds, High Seas
The IMF has a gloomy outlook for Europe heading into 2023. War in Ukraine, spiraling energy costs, high inflation, and stagnant wage growth means that EU leaders are facing “severe trade-offs and tough policy decisions.”
Reforms—to relieve supply constraints in the labor and energy markets—are key to increasing growth and relieving price pressures, according to the international body. The IMF projects that the EU will grow 0.7% in 2023.
Visualizing the Most Sought-After Entry Level Jobs in 2023
Some jobs need a degree, while others don’t. Here are the top 20 most sought-after entry level jobs with and without a degree.
The Most Sought-After Entry Level Jobs of 2023
In the fast-paced realm of job hunting, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. And if you are an entry-level job applicant, the pressure is a notch higher.
New entrants in any job market today compete with groundbreaking technology like ChatGPT in addition to their peers. In the United States, these applicants have to also wade through an uncertain labor market, inflation, and long lists of job requirements.
Indeed.com has identified the most sought-after entry level positions for applicants both with and without a degree in the U.S., and the year-on-year growth of these job postings.
Most Sought-After Entry-Level Jobs With a Degree
As the U.S. job market recovers from its pandemic slump, some careers are now booming. This in turn has opened up numerous opportunities for entry-level job applicants.
|Rank||Job Title||Average Annual Salary||Change in Postings
|1||Outside Sales Representative||$60,000||+258%|
|8||Network Operations Technician||$85,500||+94%|
|9||Mental Health Manager||$42,000||+93%|
|12||Patient Access Manager||$90,000||+77%|
|14||Lead Generation Specialist||$62,500||+73%|
|16||Pharmaceutical Sales Representative||$74,378||+71%|
|18||Special Events Coordinator||$54,000||+67%|
The demand for sales jobs multiplied this year as customer-facing businesses slowly returned to their pre-pandemic levels.
At the top of this list is the job for an Outside Sales Representative. Paying upwards of $60,000, postings for this job have grown by over 250% in a year, making it the most sought-after position for applicants with a degree.
The healthcare industry has secured its place in the top ranks too. Careers including mental health case managers, speech pathologists, behavioral therapists, and patient access managers dominate the Top 20 list.
Let’s not forget about the tech sector. While entry-level network technicians can earn upwards of $85,000 on average, while IT engineers are paid an entry package of over $90,000.
Most Sought-After Entry-Level Jobs Without a Degree
Nearly 65% of the U.S. working population does not have a four-year degree. However, millions of these workers continue to be highly skilled across professions and have a shot at some of the most sought-after entry level jobs in the country.
|Rank||Job Title||Average Annual Salary||Change in Postings
|2||Auto Body Technician||$82,500||+100%|
|3||Environmental Health and Safety Specialist||$65,000||+100%|
|7||Sheet Metal Mechanic||$62,140||+67%|
|8||Aircraft Maintenance Technician||$57,500||+64%|
|11||Route Sales Representative||$50,000||+51%|
|13||Distribution Center Coordinator||$52,500||+47%|
|14||General Maintenance Technician||$40,650||+46%|
|15||Patient Care Coordinator||$43,152||+44%|
|18||Field Sales Representative||$57,018||+42%|
One example of this job is that of an Inventory Manager. The demand for skilled inventory managers in warehouses and companies post-pandemic has doubled the position’s job share in a year.
One of the highest paying non-degree jobs in this list—Auto Body Technician—can fetch highly-skilled entry-level workers a salary of $82,000 per year.
These jobs don’t seem to require a degree according to Indeed. However, the rising competition for these positions might give the upper edge to applicants with one, especially for jobs on the list such as Business Analyst and Relationship Banker.
Maps3 weeks ago
Mapped: The Deadliest Earthquakes of the 21st Century
Countries1 week ago
Charted: The World’s Biggest Oil Producers
Energy3 weeks ago
What Electricity Sources Power the World?
Technology6 days ago
Which Companies Own the Most Satellites?
Markets3 weeks ago
The 25 Worst Stocks by Shareholder Wealth Losses (1926-2022)
Precious Metals5 days ago
200 Years of Global Gold Production, by Country
China4 weeks ago
Charted: Youth Unemployment in the OECD and China
Technology2 weeks ago
Visualizing Google’s Search Engine Market Share