EU unemployment continues to break records

Press Releases

2 Apr 2013

The latest EU unemployment figures show that the overall rate of unemployment in the Eurozone in February 2013 is now 12%, a significant increase on the February 2012 figure of 10.9%. In the EU27 as a whole, the February 2013 figure is 10.9%, up from the 10.2% recorded in February 2012.

The unemployment rate rose over the past year in 19 EU Member States and fell in eight, and in total, over 26.3 million people are now out of work in the EU

Andrea Broughton, Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies, comments:

‘There remain huge discrepancies between EU Member States, pointing to a significant and ongoing north-south divide in the EU. At the lowest end are Austria, with an unemployment rate of just 4.8%, Germany (5.4%) and Luxembourg (5.5%). This contrasts with Greece, where the rate is 26.2% (December 2012 figure), Spain, with a rate of 26.3%, and Portugal, with a rate of 17.5%.

‘Youth unemployment remains the EU's biggest employment-related headache, and shows no signs of abating, with an average rate for the under-25s of 23.5% in the EU27 Member States. In Greece, the youth unemployment rate is nearing 60% - a rate of 58.4% was recorded in December 2012 (the most recent figures for Greece). In Spain, the youth unemployment figure is 55.7%.

‘The EU is aware that urgent action is required to avoid the creation of a "lost generation" of young people who have been denied access to work. It launched a Youth Guarantee a few months ago, urging Member States to ensure that all young people receive either a quality offer of work, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. While this is a laudable initiative, based on concrete EU funding, it is unlikely to make any significant inroads into the youth unemployment figures for some time.’


About Andrea

Andrea joined IES in 2006 and has over 20 years' experience of research and writing in the areas of employment relations and industrial relations, specialising in international comparative research. Specific areas of interest include workplace-level industrial relations, European social dialogue, employee involvement, restructuring and change management, health and wellbeing issues and work-life balance issues. Andrea has undertaken a number of European labour market research projects.

About IES

The Institute for Employment Studies is the UK’s leading independent, not-for-profit centre for research and evidence-based consultancy on employment, the labour market, and HR policy and practice.