Unemployment figures across Europe ease down, slowly

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Figures from Eurostat show a slight decrease in unemployment across both Eurozone members and the EU as a whole.

The Eurozone unemployment rate fell to 10.5% in November 2015 – the lowest rate in four years, continuing a consistent but slow decline from a high of over 12% at the end of 2012.

Although some figures looked promising for austerity-battered countries like Spain, the unemployment level is highly uneven.

Germany reported the lowest unemployment rate in the Eurozone at 4.5%, while Greece remained the highest with 24.6% – almost one in four unemployed.

Austria and Finland reported increases in unemployment compared with the year before, at 5.8% and 9.4% respectively.

Spain registered a drop in unemployment from 23.7% to 21.4% over the past year – a sign that the economy was on the right track, but still faced a high number of unemployed.

Youth unemployment still sky high in the south

Youth unemployment continued to be a huge issue – with Greece seeing a staggering 49.5%. Jobseekers under 25 are considered “youth” for Eurostat measurements.

The average unemployment rate for the whole EU was 9.1%, whilst the average for the Eurozone (countries using the Euro as a currency) was 10.5%.

The report also contained the US unemployment rate as a reference, which was at 5.0%. This was down from 5.8% a year earlier, suggesting that the slow and steady reduction in unemployment isn’t just a European phenomenon. It would seem most developed economies are experiencing a gradual recovery, and any chance of an economic boom in the short term remains elusive.

Read more: Poland willing to accept worker benefit restrictions for NATO bases

Overall, the report shows a reduction in unemployment in the most economically depressed areas – but the growth isn’t spectacular. Greece, Spain, and Italy all face huge youth unemployment figures, and the only slight downward trend suggests that young people from such countries aren’t moving across the European Union in hopes of finding employment, in contrast to their Eastern European counterparts who are more willing to relocate for work possibilities under the freedom of movement principle.

Image credit: Eoghan OLionnain/Flickr

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