EU unemployment rate steady, but youth unemployment remains EU's biggest headache

Press Releases

1 Feb 2013

The latest EU unemployment figures show that the overall rate of unemployment in the Eurozone in December 2012 was steady compared with the previous month, but up on figures from 12 months previously. The rate stands at 11.7% in December 2012, stable compared with the previous month, but up from the 10.7% recorded in December 2011. The unemployment rate in the EU27 remains at 10.7% in December 2012, although up from the 10.0% recorded in November 2011.

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

‘Although the average rate of unemployment across the EU has remained steady over the past month, there remain huge discrepancies between EU Member States, pointing to a significant north-south divide in the EU. At the lowest end are Austria, with an unemployment rate of just 4.3%, and Germany and Luxembourg, each with an unemployment rate of 5.3%. This contrasts with Greece, where the rate is 26.8% and Spain, with a rate of 26.1%. Both countries have suffered badly from the economic crisis, while countries such as Germany and Austria have weathered the recession well.

‘Youth unemployment remains the EU's biggest headache - unemployment rates for the under-25s are higher than the average in all EU Member States. However, they are reaching dizzying levels in Greece (57.6% in October 2012) and Spain (55.6%). Although the strength of the family in these countries has outdoubtedly mitigated the financial impact of high unemployment among young people, 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.

‘The EU's new Youth Guarantee urges 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. There are hopes that this will have an impact on the prospects of the under-25s, although any dents in the unemployment figures are unlikely to be seen for some time.’


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.