EU unemployment rises to record levels

Press Releases

31 Oct 2012

The latest EU unemployment figures show that the overall rate of unemployment in the Eurozone now stands at 11.6% in September 2012, up from 11.5% in August 2012 and from 10.3% in September 2011. The unemployment rate in the EU27 now stands at 10.6%, up from 9.8% in September 2011, although stable when compared with a month ago. Over the past month, the number of people who are unemployed has increased by 169,000 in the EU27 and by 146,000 in the Eurozone.

There continue to be significant differences between Member States' labour market performances. Unemployment continues to be highest in Spain (25.8%) and Greece (25.1% in July 2012), and lowest in Austria (4.4%), Luxembourg (5.2%), Germany and the Netherlands (both 5.4%).

The trend is not upwards in all countries - unemployment levels actually decreased in seven Member States on a year-on-year basis, including in Lithuania and Latvia, where it may be that the worst effects of the crisis are over. In Germany, although the economy is slowing there are as yet no adverse effects on unemployment, which has fallen on a year-on-year basis.

Youth unemployment continues to rise, reaching a high of 23.3% in the Eurozone in September 2012, up from 21.0% in September 2012, and 22.8% in the EU27, up from 21.7% in September 2011. Unemployment among the under-25s is now well over 50% in Greece and Spain - 55.6% in Greece (July 2012) and 53.5% in Spain - and also over 30% in Italy (33.9%) and Portugal (35.7%). Given the ongoing financial difficulties of the European Union and the likelihood of continuing job losses in the public sector as austerity measures begin to bite, overall unemployment levels and youth unemployment in particular are likely to carry on rising for the foreseeable future.