Saturday

3rd Dec 2016

Eurozone unemployment hits new record

  • Southern countries are struggling most with unemployment and weak industrial output (Photo: European Commission)

Eurozone unemployment reached 10.8 percent in February, the highest level since the currency was introduced in 1999, according to the latest Eurostat data.

The statistics office estimated that more than 17.1 million men and women were out of work in February in the 17 states of the eurozone, 162,000 more than a month earlier and 1.48 million more than in 2011. The highest increases were registered in Greece (14.3% to 21.0% between December 2010 and December 2011), Spain (20.6% to 23.6%) and Cyprus (6.7% to 9.7%)

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Across the 27 EU member states, the unemployment average is slightly lower (10.2%) but also on an increasing trend compared to February 2011 (9.5%).

Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Germany have the lowest unemployment rates, with Germany registering a decrease from 6.3 percent in February 2011 to 5.7 percent this year.

Meanwhile in Spain, despite the government's efforts to open up labour markets, youth unemployment continues to rise, as 50.5 percent of people under 25 were out of a job in February, compared to 49.9 percent a month earlier and up from 44.4 percent in February 2011.

The unemployment statistics confirm that austerity-driven policies are putting the brakes on the eurozone economy, with manufacturing data gathered by Markit also at a three-month low in March. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a survey of 3,000 eurozone manufacturers, fell to 47.7 points in March from 49 points in February. A score below the neutral 50 mark indicates recession.

But the EU commission on Monday repeated its calls for countries to stick to their budget-deficit cutting measures.

"This is why, more than ever, it is important to carry out structural reforms in countries where the growth potential remains low and where we don't see the creation of new and better jobs," Amadeu Altafaj, the spokesman for economics commissioner Olli Rehn, said during a press conference.

But the changes are themselves being met with resistance. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti faced his first coalition quarrels over labour market reforms last week, while Spain's premier, Mariano Rajoy, had to deal with his first general strike last week over EU-prescribed austerity measures.

Analysis

Doubts hang over EU investment plan's future

Questions of value for money and a lack of transparency complicate adding almost €200 billion more and extending the Juncker investment plan to 2020.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  2. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  3. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  4. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  5. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  6. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  7. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  8. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  9. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  10. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  11. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security
  12. ACCAThe Future of Audit Means Adaption to Today’s Global and Digital World