Eurozone unemployment hits new record high
by Daniel Mason
Unemployment in the eurozone rose to a new record level in May, while the number of young people out of work has increased by more than a quarter of a million over the last year, new figures published today revealed.
According to Eurostat, unemployment across the 17 euro area countries was 11.1 per cent in May, the highest rate since the introduction of the single currency and up from 11 per cent the previous month. It means there were 17.56 million people out of work in the eurozone in May, a rise of 88,000 compared with April.
The divergence across the region was marked, with unemployment highest in Spain and Greece at 24.6 per cent and 21.9 per cent respectively, and lowest in Austria at 4.1 per cent. The latest data for Greece is from March.
Among under-25s unemployment reached 22.6 per cent – or 3.4 million people – up from 20.5 per cent in April. The figure has risen by 254,000 in the past 12 months. Again the highest rates were in Greece and Spain, where just over half of young people were out of work. Youth unemployment was lowest in Germany, at 7.9 per cent.
Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight, said it was of "little real comfort" that the rise in unemployment was the smallest for 11 months. "With the eurozone likely having suffered appreciable gross domestic product contraction in the second quarter and in grave danger of contracting again in the third, and with eurozone business confidence generally low and fragile, the likelihood is that the eurozone unemployment rate will move significantly higher over the coming months," he said.
Meanwhile in the wider European Union unemployment was also up, from 10.2 per cent in April to 10.3 per cent in May, an increase of 151,000 people. It means there were 24.86 million people out of work across the 27-nation bloc. Youth unemployment in the EU was 22.7 per cent.
By comparison, overall unemployment in May was 8.2 per cent in the United States and 4.4 per cent in Japan.
Compounding the bad news for the eurozone, Markit's Purchasing Mangers' Index survey for the manufacturing sector remained at 45.1 in June, it was announced today. Any figure below 50 represents a contraction. Markit economist Chris Williamson said: "Companies are clearly preparing for worse to come, cutting back in both staff numbers and stocks of raw materials at the fastest rates for two-and-half-years."
The EU and the eurozone: out of work
The level of unemployment in Europe is a tragedy that deserves some sort of recognition of collective failure on the part of the authorities, writes our secret columnist in Brussels
We're so busy complaining about what we haven't got that we have no time left to show our appreciation for what we do. Ingratitude is a painful thing - if you've ever been on the other side. Christ never condoned it, and neither did Mohammad or Buddha. Not even 'our me, myself and I' culture condones it. Why then are we condoning ingratitude towards our politicians?
Have they done so little for us, our towns, our states and our country that we have nothing but contempt for them? Do you think the reason that we are not as bad as others elsewhere is because of their lack of diligence? Let us pause then and give them thanks - not for a perfect job, but for making a better lemonade from the lemons we've all been dealt with the world over.
kafantaris - Ohio