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EU’s unemployment rate, at the lowest level since the end of 2008, but youth unemployment is still high

In May 2017, the unemployment rate in the European Union was at the lowest level since December 2008. Still, the rate of youth unemployment, although is down since the same month of last year, is almost double than the rate of unemployment overall.

The latest figures published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, show that the euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.3% in May 2017, stable compared to April
2017 and down from 10.2% in May 2016. This rate is the lowest recorded in the euro area since March

In all 28 member states of the EU, the unemployment rate was 7.8% in May 2017, stable compared to April 2017 and down from 8.7% in May 2016. “This remains the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since December 2008,” Eurostat reports.


EU’s statistical office estimates that in the entire intra-Community space, over 19 million men and women, of whom more than 15 million in the euro area, were unemployed in May 2017.

“Compared with April 2017, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 32 000 in the EU28 and by 16 000 in the euro area. Compared with May 2016, unemployment fell by 2.145 million in the EU28 and by 1.452 million in the euro area,” Eurostat also reports.

The lowest unemployment rates in May 2017 among the Member States were recorded in the Czech Republic (3%), Germany (3.9%) and Malta (4.1%). On the other hand, the highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (22.5% in March 2017) and Spain (17.7%).

Unemployment rate in the EU in May 2017, according to Eurostat

Despite the fact that Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates in the EU, it registered one of the biggest improvements in this sector. Thus, compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in Spain decreased from 20.2% to 17.7%, the second largest decline in the EU after Croatia, whose unemployment rate fell from 13.4% to 10.7%. The third in the ranking was Ireland, which registered a decrease from 8.4% to 6.4%.

According to Eurostat, the unemployment rate in May 2017 vs. May 2016 fell in all Member States for which data is comparable over time.

Youth unemployment in the EU is still high

In the entire European Union, 3.762 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in May 2017. Over 2.6 million of the unemployed people were in the euro area. Still, the figures show an improvement since the same month of last year. Thus, compared with May 2016, youth unemployment decreased by 585,000 in the EU and by 402,000 in the euro area.

“In May 2017, the youth unemployment rate was 16.9% in the EU28 and 18.9% in the euro area, compared with 19.0% and 21.3% respectively in May 2016. In May 2017, the lowest rate was observed in Germany (6.7%), while the highest rates were recorded in Greece (46.6% in March 2017), Spain (38.6%) and Italy (37.0%),” Eurostat also reports.


Madeline Gorthon