Jobless rate hits 10.3% across Europe with 16.4 million now out of work… New data released by the statistics office Eurostat has revealed that unemployment across Europe now stands at a record high of 16.4 million with the jobless rate growing to 10.3%.
The figures paint a depressing picture particularly in Spain which has the highest level of unemployment at 22.9% followed closely by Greece at 18.8%, a country struggling to cope with a huge debt crisis. In the Euro Area’s (EA) 17 member countries the best performers are Austria with an unemployment rate of just 4% while the Netherlands and Luxembourg also boasted respectable jobless rates, both at 4.9%. By comparison,the UK which is outside of the EA area had an 8.3% unemployment rate when the figures were recorded in November 2011.
The average unemployment rate across the 27 EU countries is 9.8% which means that 23.7 million people are out of work across the continent. Since November 2010 unemployment has risen by 723,000 in the EU which is the equivalent of just under 2,000 people a day losing their job in the past year. Outside of Europe the picture is slightly more positive with USA having a jobless rate of 8.6% and Japan doing even better with a rate of 4.5% (excluding the areas affected by the tsunami of March 2011).
It’s not all doom and gloom in the EU area in spite of the difficult economic climate we find ourselves in and all the uncertainty surrounding the Euro. Indeed the unemployment rate has fallen in 14 of the 27 EU countries in the last year. The three Baltic countries have improved the most in the last year but still have a lot of improving to do as their unemployment levels remain in double digits.
Nonetheless the area of most concern in Europe is the high rates of youth unemployment with those under the age of 25 being particularly affected by the economic uncertainty in Europe. More than 5.5 million under 25’s are unemployed across the EU and the average rate of youth unemployment in the EU is a worryingly high 27% (in the UK the rate is 22%). The lowest rates of youth unemployment are evident in Germany (8.1 %), Austria (8.3 %) and the Netherlands (8.6 %), with the highest in Spain (49.6 %), Greece (46.6 %) and Slovakia (35.1 per cent).