(by more than 270.000 according to the estimates of the Austrian Institute of Economie Research, see chapter II.6), even if a restrictive immigration policy is adopted. In Austria the labour market situation became critical in 1995 and 1996: 16,000 jobs were lost in these two years, the number of the registered unem· ployed increased to the same extent. In these years employment problems spread from the industrial sector to those service sectors that lost their hitherto sheltered position due to the European integration and must now prevail against international competition. The increasing problems of the labour market motivated the Advisory Council for Economie and Social Affairs to this employment study. The Advi· sory Council concentrated in its work on labour market and qualification as· pects, as the economic side of this problem was dealt with in the Advisory Council's study "Wirtschaftsstandort Österreich" ("Austria's Competitive Po- sition as an Industrial Location") two years ago. The Austrian Social Partners' agreement "Maßnahmen fllr eine beschäftigungspolitische Offensive" ("Meas· ures for an Employment Policy Initiative" of the employment summit of the Parity Commission of February 1996) is enclosed in the annex. This paper is thus to complement the study on Austria's competitiveness. lt must be stressed that employment and unemployment are not merely problems of the labour market but much more of economic development and thus also of economic policy. Labour market and educational policy initiatives are nec- essary but not sufficient to increase employment. The study of the Advisory Council is divided into six chapters: This intro· duction and the recommendations or conclusions are followed by a chapter on the development of the 1abour market, paying specific attention to the individ. ual sectors. The third chapter deals with qualification of the labour force con· centrating on further vocational training and continuing the Advisory Council's study "Qualification 2000". The fourth chapter is devoted to the subject of working time and employment and refers to two studies of the Advisory Council on "Arbeitszeitentwicklung" ("Working Time") and "Öffnungszeiten" ("Shop Hours"). The fifth chapter goes into those areas, services in particular, for which the Advisory Council expects a high future employment potential. The sixth chapter finally discusses the active labour market policy. 1.2. Economlc Growth und Labour Market Development Austria succeeded in restraining the last recession ('92/'93) and keeping the unemployment rate low compared to other European countries last but not least due to letting the automatie stabilizers take effect i.e. accepting short· term effects of recession·1ed tax losses on the budget deficit. Such a policy prevents the development of a non·cyclical unemployment that would then consolidate and be difficult to reduce even in times of economic upswing. Nevertheless employment has become of major politieal concern in Austria as throughout the rest of Europe. Unemployment increases during each cycli· cal downswing and hardly decreases during an economie recovery, thus indi- 12