Eurozone unemployment stable in July

30 Aug 13
Unemployment in the eurozone remained in excess of 19 million people in July, unchanged from the previous month, figures from Eurostat have revealed today.

By | 30 August 2013

Unemployment in the eurozone remained in excess of 19 million people in July, unchanged from the previous month, figures from Eurostat have revealed today.

The latest unemployment figures show that 12.1% of the working age population was out of work across the currency bloc. Although this has remained stable for the last four months, according to Eurostat, it is up 0.6 percentage points from the same month in 2012.

Two eurozone counties continue to have unemployment in excess of 20% of their working populations. In both Greece (27.6%, according to latest figures) and Spain (26.3%), unemployment has risen in the last 12 months. The lowest unemployment rates were in Austria (4.8%), Germany (5.3%)

Across the whole of the European Union, unemployment is slightly lower, at 11%, which is also the same as in June.

Overall, the unemployment rate increased in seventeen member states over the last year, and fell in eleven. The highest increases were recorded in Cyprus (12.2% to 17.3%), Greece (23.8% to 27.6% between May 2012 and May 2013), Slovenia (9.3% to 11.2%) and the Netherlands (5.3% to 7.0%). The largest decreases were in Latvia (15.7% to 11.5% between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013) and Estonia (10.1% to 7.9% between June 2012 and June 2013).

Responding to the figures, European Commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion László Andor said it was positive that the jobless totals had stopped rising in many countries.

However, he warned that the ‘social emergency’ in some peripheral European countries could ‘still be explosive’.

He added: ‘After six quarters of recession and ten quarters of rising unemployment, this levelling off in unemployment is relatively good news.

‘But clearly it is unacceptable that more than 26.6 million jobseekers are still without a job in the EU (19.2 million in the eurozone), of which more than 5.5 million are aged under 25 (3.5 million in the eurozone). The recent improvements are minimal, and the situation is still very fragile.

‘This is no time for celebration or complacency. On the contrary, now that we can see we are on the right employment policy track we must step up our jobs effort. The budding recovery also reflects several recent broader policy shifts, which must be consolidated and continued. [These include] progress on reforming the eurozone, including [implementing a] banking union, innovative actions of the ECB and moderation of fiscal consolidation.’

He said the European recovery would only be ‘robust’ when the region creates 200,000-300,000 new jobs every month for a sustained period.

‘And clearly, a real job-rich recovery must not be based on zero-hours contracts or long-term mini-jobs,’ Andor added. ‘Only if working people make a decent living, and can buy what others sell, will truly positive dynamics return to the European labour market.’

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