Up to 3.5 million European Union (EU) citizens face losing their jobs in 2009 owing to the current economic crisis, the EU's executive warned on Tuesday.
According to the European Commission's first monthly survey of the EU's job market, "further deterioration in the labour market is foreseen for the months ahead ... with overall employment contracting by 1.6 per cent, or some 3.5 million jobs."
Unemployment across the 27-member bloc - which in 2008 was estimated at 7.0 per cent - is set to climb to nearly 10 per cent by the end of 2010, the report said.
"Announced job losses now far outweigh those relating to job creation," the report said bleakly.
The impact of the crisis is set to fall most heavily on the metal-working, automotive, financial and logistics sectors, which in the last quarter of 2008 alone reported over 100,000 job losses.
However, that slump is set to be offset, at least in part, by the resilience of the all-important retail sector, which continues to create "significant" numbers of jobs, the report said.
The monthly survey is part of the commission's response to the ongoing crisis. It is intended to give EU decision-makers and the wider public access to quick but reliable information on job creation and losses.