Accumulation or absorption? Household non-employment before and after the Great Recession

How do job losses on the individual level translate into household joblessness? Using the economic crisis as an individual employment shock we analyze the pattern of non-employment and low work intensity at the household level across Europe before and since 2009. In a comparative multilevel analysis using the EU-SILC (2005-13) we investigate whether households have been able to absorb these risks or whether they accumulated disadvantages. We focus on welfare regimes and how they moderate the translation process. Our findings show that – unsurprisingly – household non-employment and low work intensity rose after the crisis as individual joblessness increased. However, the relationship between individual non-employment and household joblessness varies widely across welfare regimes. Taking into account compositional factors such as household characteristics and education levels, Mediterranean countries show a dramatically worse increase in household level non-employment. By contrast, households in Nordic countries were better equipped to absorb individual joblessness.