The restructuring events database contains factsheets with data on large-scale restructuring events reported in the principal national media and company websites in each EU Member State. This database was created in 2002.
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) follows a specific methodology for collecting data related to large-scale restructuring events, with the support of the Network of Eurofound Correspondents in the EU Member States and Norway. Here you can find details about the data collection method, the statistical processing, the type of information collected in each database entry, the data limitations and the media sources used.
Data collection methodology
The extensive Network of Eurofound Correspondents in the EU27 and Norway gathers the information which is reported in the ERM restructuring events database. Using a media monitoring tool, correspondents carry out a wide-ranging daily screening of business press and online sources, recording large-scale company restructuring events. An event is included if it entails the announced destruction or creation of (1) at least 100 jobs or (2) implicates at least 10% of the workforce at sites employing more than 250 people. Cross-national restructuring events are also reported to the ERM.
Eurofound monitors the quality of the data supplied by correspondents in an ongoing process of feedback and evaluation. Restructuring events previously published in the database are updated when details of the case change and are covered in the main media titles. Each event is recorded in a standardised format, called a ‘factsheet’, which allows for the compilation of indicative statistics comparing countries, sectors or types of restructuring.
A comprehensive methodology description is available in the ERM annual report 2013 (pages 7-22):
Publication: ERM Annual Report 2013: Monitoring and managing restructuring in the 21st century
The statistical analyses available on-line are descriptive. They describe the breakdown (in number and percentage):
of planned job reductions/job creation
according to one of the following three variables: sector, country or type of restructuring
The analysis also offers a breakdown (in number and percentage):
of cases recorded
according to one of the three variables chosen
Method of information-gathering
The descriptive analysis is carried out for all cases based on announcements in the press. Eurofound cross-checks the information by means of different sources, but it does not make specific enquiries of the companies or the trade unions concerned.
Definition of the fields in the monitoring tool
The fields used for the statistical analysis are:
planned job reductions/job creation
type of restructuring
Important notes concerning the use of the country variable:
If a case of restructuring concerns several European countries, the field will contain the value 'European Union'.
If a case of restructuring concerns the European Union, among other countries, the field will show the value 'World'.
If a case concerns several countries of the European Union and the information given in the press is sufficiently precise, one factsheet per country and one factsheet for the European Union are created.
The information contained in a factsheet always refers to the geographical location mentioned in the factsheet. The planned job reductions, the number of employees, etc. will concern this country.
The ERM collects restructuring cases compiled in standardised fact sheets, some of which are related to different geographical locations (one or more countries and the European Union). In this case, the information is generated in such a way that planned job reductions/job creation are only counted once.
When calculating the breakdown regarding the number of planned job reductions per country, cases concerning the geographical entity 'EU' will not be included if they are also described in a country factsheet.
When calculating the breakdown regarding the number of planned job reductions per sector or per type of restructuring, cases collected in country factsheets will not be taken into account if there is an EU level factsheet.
The information gathered about restructuring events is recorded into a standard 'factsheet'. Each case contains the following information:
Company name and group
Geographic location: country, region and affected unit
The sector described using the NACE code (classification rev 2)
The number employed in the affected unit prior to restructuring
The announcement date when the restructuring is reported for the first time in the press
Type of restructuring event: bankruptcy, closure, offshoring/delocalisation, relocation, outsourcing, merger or acquisition, internal restructuring, business expansion
Number of announced job reductions/creation
Number of direct dismissals or other job reduction measures due to restructuring
The employment effect start date when the announced jobs are expected to be lost or created
The foreseen end date when the announced jobs are expected to be lost or created by
The media sources used to report the case (name of source and publication date of the article) and links to the original article when available
The type of restructuring field may take a single value. If the case involves different types of restructuring, the category selected should reflect the type of restructuring accounting for the greatest proportion of job losses. In the ERM, the type of restructuring should fall into one of the categories outlined below.
When the activity stays within the same company but is relocated to another location within the same country.
When the activity is subcontracted to another company within the same country.
When the activity is relocated or outsourced outside of the country’s borders.
When a company goes bankrupt for economic reasons not directly connected to relocation or outsourcing.
When a company or an industrial site is closed for economic reasons not directly connected to relocation or outsourcing.
When two companies merge or during an acquisition which then involves an internal restructuring programme aimed at rationalising organisation by reducing personnel.
When the company undertakes a job-cutting plan, which is not linked to another type of restructuring defined above or the restructuring entails a mix of measures of which none is dominant.
Where a company extends its business activities, hiring new workforce.
In addition to the structured data, there is also very rich and useful information on individual cases, which forms the basis for subsequent qualitative research.
Given that the ERM restructuring events database relies on selected media titles, its coverage of restructuring activity in each Member State is indicative and cannot be considered representative.
In view of size thresholds for case inclusion, the monitor reports almost exclusively on restructuring in medium and larger-sized firms; this size bias in turn leads to an overrepresentation of the manufacturing sector where company size tends to be larger. Variability of national-level media coverage of restructuring events from country to country leads also to country biases. This is reflected in higher levels of ERM reporting in some Member States and lower levels in others.
Also, it should be taken into account that once reported in the media, the decisions announced by the companies may be changed for various reasons without necessarily giving rise to a second press article. We therefore underline that restructuring job losses are as originally announced; depending on the individual case, these figures may or may not tally with the actual final job loss or gain.
In spite of these biases and data limitations, the dataset does generate a picture of labour market restructuring, especially in relation to sectoral restructuring activity that is broadly consistent with data coming from more representative sources such as the European Labour Force Survey. It has also tended to anticipate well overall trends in (un)employment in European labour markets while providing unique data on the proportion of overall larger-scale restructuring-related job loss accounted for by different forms of restructuring (such as offshoring, internal restructuring). Other positive advantages of the restructuring events database are its timeliness, its identification of individual cases of restructuring based on publicly available information and its uniqueness as an EU-wide dataset of larger-scale restructuring events.
The information concerning restructuring events is extracted from national media sources. Each restructuring case clearly quotes all sources that have been used to report the information. The media sources list is updated on a regular basis upon the suggestion of the national correspondents.