The labor market slack was at 13.6% in 2019 and increased when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the labor market in 2020 (14.9%) mainly due to the increase in the number of people available to work but not seeking it. This might be explained by the length and the repetition of the lockdowns as well as other sanitary measures preventing people looking for a job.
For Latvia the figure was right on the EU average at 14% in 2021, up from 13.7% in 2020.
In 2021, the labour market slack was highest in Spain (24.1%), followed by Italy (22.8%) and Greece (22.2%). By contrast, Czechia (3.9%), Malta (5.5%) and Poland (5.7%) registered the lowest labour market slack.