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EU Sees Falling Unemployment by Sven R. Larson

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EU Sees Falling Unemployment

In its September 1st EuroIndicator, Eurostat reported that unemployment in the euro zone ticked down from 6.7% in June to 6.6% in July. A similarly marginal decline took place in the EU as a whole, from 6.1% to 6.0%. 

Two countries, Greece and Spain, recorded unemployment rates in the double digits: 11.4% and 12.6% respectively. The Greek rate was a drop from 12.3% to 11.4%, while the Spanish rate remained unchanged.

The lowest unemployment rates for July were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.3%), Poland (2.6%), Germany and Malta (2.9%), and Hungary (3.5%). The highest rates, after Spain and Greece, were recorded in Cyprus (8.0%), Italy (7.9%), and Sweden (7.4%). 

A year ago, euro-zone unemployment was 7.7%, and 6.9% in the EU as a whole. Of the 27 EU member states, only Cyprus experienced a rise in unemployment: from 6.8% in July 2021 to 8.0% in July of this year. 

The Eurostat report also published youth unemployment ratios, i.e., for workers younger than 25 years old. Numbers for July are missing for Belgium, Croatia, Cypris, Romania, and Slovenia. Of the reporting countries, the EU unemployment rate fell from 14.2% in June to 14.0% in July, and from 14.4% to 14.2% in the euro zone. Four EU member states had a youth unemployment rate above 20%: Greece (28.6%), Spain (26.9%), Estonia (24.9%), and Italy (24.0%). 

Germany had the lowest youth unemployment rate at 5.6%, followed by the Czech Republic (6.3%), the Netherlands (7.8%), Poland (8.4%), and Malta (9.8%). 

On a year-to-year basis, youth unemployment declined from 16.3% to 14.2% in the euro zone and from 16.1% to 14.0% in the EU. Three countries experienced rising youth unemployment from July 2021 to July this year: Denmark (from 8.8% to 9.9%), Estonia (from 18.7% to 24.5%), and Malta (from 7.6% to 9.8%). 

The largest annual decline took place in Hungary: from 16.3% to 10.8%.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.