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Europe – June unemployment highest since records began

31 July 2012

In June, unemployment in the Eurozone reached the highest on record against a backdrop of economic uncertainty caused by the ongoing debt crisis as more than hundred thousand people lost their jobs. The latest statistics by the EU’s statistics office Eurostat today showed that joblessness in the 17 euro countries in the month reached 11.2%, following on from an already high rate seen in May (11.1%.)

Year-over-year unemployment in the Euro countries was up by +1.2% while things were not looking brighter in the EU overall. Within the 27 countries of the EU, joblessness reached 10.4% after Eurostat previously reported an unemployment rate of 10.3% in May. A year ago, unemployment in the EU was considerably lower at 9.5%.

Compared with some of the world’s largest economies, European unemployment by far exceeds figures for both the US and Japan, where the number of people out of work reached a percentage of 8.2% (June 2012) and 4.4% (May 2012) respectively.

Eurostat said that a total of 25.1 million were without a job in the EU, 17.8 million of them could be found in the euro area alone. This means that unemployment has increased by 127,000 within a month in the EU.

As in previous months, the lowest unemployment rate was recorded in Austria (4.5%), the Netherlands (5.1%), Germany and Luxembourg (both 5.4%). The highest rate was seen in the troubled euro countries Spain (24.8%) and Greece (22.5% in April 2012).

Youth unemployment has been an ongoing concern for politicians in Europe and the new figures show no sign of improvement. In June, 5.5 million youngsters aged under 25 were out of work, seeing a year-over-year increase of 227,000. This takes the total toll to 5.5 million, a rate of 22.6%, compared to 21.2% a year ago. 

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