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Europe – Unemployment “stable” but still record high

31 August 2012

Unemployment in Europe remained “stable” in July, official EU figures show today, with the joblessness rate not rising further when compared to the previous month. But in the Eurozone the number of unemployed people, 11.3% in July, is still the highest since records began as economic uncertainty has harshly impacted labour markets in the region and more people lost their jobs.

In the EU, unemployment in July was 10.4%, unchanged from June, taking the toll of those without work to 25.254 million. Although in July the unemployment rate was flat both in the EU and the Eurozone, the number of people without work rose, month-on-month, by 43,000 in the EU. This is almost half of that seen in the Euro countries, where 88,000 lost their jobs in the month.

The picture worsens when compared to a year ago as unemployment in July has since risen by +0.8% in the EU, and even more so in the Eurozone where the rate climbed up by +1.2% in the space of 12 months.

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 8.3% and 4.3% respectively. Eurostat also expects annual inflation in Europe to rise to 2.6% in August from 2.4% in July.

The lowest unemployment rate was recorded in Austria (4.5%). Nothing changed for Spain and Greece which still had the highest joblessness rate of 25.1% and 23.1% respectively.

The figures also show that in the EU, the percentage of unemployed men is slightly higher at 10.5% compared to 10.4% for women. In the Euro countries, however, women are worse off than men with 11.4% being out of work against a comparison of 11.3% of men.

Youth unemployment remains an ongoing concern for European politicians and continued to rise in July to 22.5%, last year this stood at 21.3%. Over 5.4 million young people did not have a job in the month with, again, Southern European countries showing especially high rates. In Spain more than half of young people were out of work while Germany achieved the lowest youth unemployment rate at just 8.0%.

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