Youth unemployment rate tops 60% in Greece
31 May 2013
The latest EU unemployment figures show that the overall rate of unemployment in the Eurozone in April 2013 is now 12.2%, up from 12.1% in March 2013 and a significant increase on the April 2012 figure of 11.2%. In the EU27, the April 2013 figure is 11.0%, up from the 10.3% recorded in April 2012.
Eurostat estimates that over 26.5 million people are now out of work in the EU, of which over 19 million are in the Eurozone area. The unemployment rate rose over the past year in 18 EU Member States and fell in nine.
The gap between different EU Member States in terms of labour market performance continues to widen, with Greece and Spain recording the highest rates of unemployment (27.0% in Greece according to February 2013 figures, and 26.8% in Spain). The rate of unemployment is also increasing fastest in these countries, although Cyprus has seen a jump in its unemployment figures, from 11.2% to 15.6% between April 2012 and 2013. The Baltic States, by contrast, appear to be performing better in labour market terms – in Latvia, the rate of unemployment fell from 15.5% to 12.4% between the first quarters of 2012 and 2013, and in Estonia, the rate fell from 10.6% in March 2012 to 8.7% in March 2013.
At the other end of the scale, the unemployment rate is lowest in Austria, at 4.9%, Germany, at 5.4% and Luxembourg, at 5.6%.
Andrea Broughton, Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies comments:
‘Youth unemployment continues to present the biggest problem. The latest figures for Greece show that the youth unemployment rate is now 62.5% (February 2013 figures), meaning that well over half of young people under 25 in Greece who want to be active in the labour market do not have a job. Spain is not far behind, with a rate of 56.4%. Portugal and Italy also have high youth unemployment rates, of 42.5% and 40.5% respectively, both well above the EU average for youth unemployment, which is 23.5% in the EU27 and 24.4% in the Eurozone. This means that across the EU, almost one in four young people who are in the labour market do not have a job. This is likely to have serious social and labour market consequences.
‘The countries that are most successful in ensuring that young people are in employment are Germany (where the youth unemployment rate is 7.5%), Austria (8.0%) and the Netherlands (10.6%). EU policymakers are attempting to address the crisis in youth unemployment with schemes such as the Youth Guarantee. It would seem that much could be learned from countries such as Germany and Austria, which have managed to keep overall unemployment and youth unemployment down to manageable levels.’
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.
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.