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Exploring Terra Incognita – Operating Hours in the Service Sector

  • Frank Bauer
  • Hermann Groß
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Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)

The (developed) European economies are characterised by an increasing tertiarisation and, today, a clear majority of jobs and establishments are allocated in the service sector. In 2005, the overall sectoral employment structure of the EU-25 shows that 4.9% of total employment took place in agriculture, 27.5% in industry and 67.7% in services (EC, 2006: 57). Moreover, the development of the service sector is often presented as one of the most promising solutions for the employment crisis of the members of the European Union; Member States with a high share of service jobs also tend to do well with regard to employment. Empirical evidence shows indeed that between 2000 and 2005 the service sector was mainly responsible for the rise of employment:

“Since 2000 total employment in the EU has increased by over 8.5 million, mainly driven by strong net employment creation of almost 11.5 million in the service sector. The latter has more than made up for the employment contraction in industry (down 1.6 million) and agriculture (down 1.2 million) since 2000.” (EC, 2006: 62)

A more detailed analysis for Germany shows that all but one of the producing sectors lost employment over the same period, while amongst the service industries, on the other hand, there were a lot of employment winners in the same period, for example producer services and transport (Amend and Bauer, 2005; 2006; Bauer and Otto, 2006). But it is not only this development which makes the service sector of interest; recently in a lot of European countries there have been legal interventions, which strongly influence operating hours in the service sector. Shop opening hours have been extended in the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Germany. In France collective working time reduction has not only influenced operating hours in manufacturing. Additionally, the perennial political discussion about inevitable cost reduction in the public services suggests another special feature of the service industries: a lot of social services are publicly financed and operating time management is set by societal necessity and political discretion rather than by the market.

Keywords

Social Service Service Sector Service Industry Shift Work Official Publication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Senior Researcher at the SozialforschungsstelleDortmundGermany

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