Unemployment up 1.8m in EU in past year. Now at 10% of labour force

Posted on Sunday, 7 February 2010

More than 23 million people in the EU were unemployed in May 2010 according to the latest statistics published by Eurostat equivalent to 10% of the labour force. Of these, 15.789 million were in the 16 countries in the euro area. In the year since May 2009, unemployment rose by 1.8 million in the EU, and by 1 million in the euro area.

 The number of persons unemployed decreased by 37 000 in the EU since April 2010. By contrast, in the euro area the number of persons unemployed increased by 35 000 over the preceding month.
These figures were published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Among the EU Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.0%) and the Netherlands (4.3%), and the highest rates in Latvia (20.0% in the first quarter of 2010), Spain (19.9%) and Estonia (19.0% in the first quarter of 2010). In Ireland the unemployment rate recorded by Eurostat at the end of May 2010 was 13.3%.

Compared with a year ago, five Member States recorded a fall in the unemployment rate and twenty-two an increase. The largest falls were observed in Austria (4.9% to 4.0%) and Germany (7.6% to 7.0%). The highest increases were registered in Estonia (11.0% to 19.0% between the first quarters of 2009 and 2010) and Latvia (13.5% to 20.0% between the first quarters of 2009 and 2010). In Ireland there was an increase from 12% to 13.3%.

It is interesting to note that in Germany unemployment has fallen continuously since last summer, to reach 7.0%.   Employment there is boosted by short-time work schemes, where companies are paid by the authorities to retain workers through the downturn rather than making them redundant.

The latest statistics published by Eurostat can be downloaded below