Unemployment rising across the Euro area - Government policy of relying on export led growth and job creation unsustainable

Posted on Friday, 4 May 2012

Unemployment continues to rise across the EU as detailed in the latest figures from Eurostat. The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.9% in March 2012, compared with 9.9% in March 2011. 

The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.2% in March 2012, compared with 9.4% in March 2011. 
Eurostat estimates that 24.772 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 17.365 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in March 2012. Unemployment in the EU27 rose by 2.123 million compared with March 2011 and by 1.732 million in the euro area.
Spain had the highest unemployment rate at 24.1 %, ahead of Greece at 21.7% and Portugal at 15.3%. Ireland had the fourth highest unemployment rate of 14.5 % in March 2012, an increase from March 2011 when the unemployment rate was 14.1%.  Between March 2011 and March 2012 the unemployment rate for males increased from 9.7% to 10.8% in the euro area and from 9.3% to 10.2% in the EU27. The female unemployment rate rose from 10.2% to 11.2% in the euro area and from 9.6% to 10.3% in the EU27.

In March 2012, 5.516 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU27, of whom 3.345 million were in the euro area. Youth unemployment in Ireland in March 2012 was 30.3%, an increase from 28.7% in March 2011. In March 2012 the youth unemployment rate was 22.6% in the EU27 and 22.1% in the euro area.

The scale of the unemployment crisis is enormous and it is clear that the market economy is unable to provide anywhere near the jobs required to reduce unemployment significantly any time soon. Government policy of relying on export led growth to create jobs is simply unsustainable. According the latest report from the Irish Exporters Association reviewing Quarter 1 of 2012, there will be very small growth in Irish exports this year which will result in much lower job creation that was previously forecast.

Social Justice Ireland believes the Government should launch a major investment programme focussed on creating employment and prioritise initiatives that strengthen social infrastructure such as the school building programme and social housing programme

Irish Exporters Association Report can be downloaded below