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Europe — Euro area unemployment at highest level since 1999

02 November 2009

According to Eurostat ( the Statistical Office of the European Communities), the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in the euro area (EA16) was 9.7% in September 2009, compared with 9.6% in August. It was 7.7% in September 2008.

The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.2% in September 2009, compared with 9.1% in August. It was 7.1% in September 2008. For the euro area this is the highest rate since January 1999 and for the EU27 since the start of the series in January 2000.

Eurostat estimates that 22.123 million men and women in the EU27, of which 15.324 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in September 2009. Compared with August, the number of persons unemployed increased by
286, 000 in the EU27 and by 184,000 in the euro area. Compared with September 2008, unemployment went up by 5.011 million in the EU27 and by 3.204 million in the euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (3.6%) and Austria (4.8%), and the highest rates in Latvia (19.7%) and Spain (19.3%).

Compared with a year ago, all Member States recorded an increase in their unemployment rate. The smallest increases were observed in Germany (7.1% to 7.6%), Italy (6.8% to 7.4% between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009) and Belgium (7.3% to 7.9%). The highest increases were registered in Latvia (8.1% to 19.7%) and Estonia (4.1% to 13.3% between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009).

Between September 2008 and September 2009, the unemployment rate for males rose from 7.1% to 9.6% in the euro area and from 6.8% to 9.3% in the EU27. The female unemployment rate increased from 8.4% to 9.8% in the euro area and from 7.5% to 9.0% in the EU27.

In September 2009, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 20.1% in the euro area and 20.2% in the EU27. In September 2008 it was 15.7% and 15.8% respectively. The lowest rate was observed in the Netherlands (6.8%), and the highest rates in Spain (41.7%) and Latvia (33.6% in the third quarter of 2009).

As a comparison, the unemployment rate was 9.8% in the USA in September 2009. In Japan it was 5.5% in August 2009.

Please note that the EA16 Euro area refers to those 16 countries, which have the Euro as their sole currency. EU27 refers to all 27 European Union countries.

To read the full Euro indicator report please click here



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