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Unemployment in the euro area tops 10 per cent

Unemployment in the euro area was 10.0% in December 2009, which is slightly up on the 9.9% figure for November, and compares with 8.2% in December 2008. When the wider EU27 is examined, the unemployment rate was 9.6% last December which compares with 9.5% in November and 7.6% a year ago.


The figure for the euro area is the highest rate since August 1998 and that for the EU27 the highest since records started in January 2000. Eurostat has estimated that 23.012m were out of work in the wider EU in December, with 15.763m being in the euro area. There were rises of 163,000 and 87,000 in each area respectively in December 2009.


This compares with a UK unemployment rate in September to November 2009 of 7.4% which actually represented a fall in unemployment over the previous quarter. But within the EU there are large variations. For example, Netherlands has a rate of 4.0% and Austria is at 5.4%, but on the other hand Latvia has an unemployment rate of 22.8% and Spain 19.5%.

There is a wide divergence in unemployment rates between EU member countries.

There is a wide divergence in unemployment rates between EU member countries.


Not surprisingly, all member states have seen an increase in unemployment between December 2008 and December 2009. However the smallest increase was in Germany (7.1% to 7.5%0 and the highest in Latvia (11.3% to 22.8%).


There is even greater divergence in the rates of unemployment amongst the under-25s. In the Netherlands the rate is only 7.6% whilst it reaches a massive 44.5% in Spain and 43.8% in Latvia.

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Posted in European Union, unemployment

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