Unemployment in the Eurozone

January 9, 2013 in Euro Zone

Figures released yesterday for November from Italy reveal that over 37% of young Italians (15-24 years) are unemployed. This is a powder keg-in-waiting for whoever succeeds Prime Minister Mario Monti. When viewed in the context of the overall unemployment rate of 11.1%, the difference appears even starker. Bleak economic conditions in Italy, possibly due to austerity measures, are putting pressure on employment.  In addition, businesses already fearful of the uncertain economic situation are afraid to hire workers in the context of tough labour laws that make firing difficult.

Note that across the pond, in the United States, even a single digit unemployment rate of 7.8% has caused massive concern to the political leadership.  Youth unemployment in Italy has grown for the third month running, and its current level is the highest seen since 1992 when records started.

But Italy is not the only problem area in Europe as far as employment is concerned. The continued overhang of the sovereign debt crisis has put the economies of the region under recessionary conditions that have impacted employment.

Yesterday Eurostat released employment data for the Eurozone, and revealed that the number of people out of work in November reached 18.8 million, catapulting the unemployment rate to a new all-time high of 11.8%. The unemployment rate across the EU area as a whole was 10.7%.

Significantly, both the statistics are up hugely over the same month in 2011, when they reported at 10.6% and 10% respectively.

Here is a look at the country-wise unemployment rates as reported by Eurostat.

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Laszlo Andor said “2012 has been another very bad year for Europe in terms of unemployment and the deteriorating social situation,” in his annual review of employment trends.

He also commented that a widening gap was emerging in the performance of the economies between Germany and neighbouring north side economies, which were economically better off than Europe’s southern Mediterranean rim.

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