EU unemployment 8% – lowest in eight years

The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.5% in February 2017 — the lowest since May 2009 — according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

This was down from 9.6% in January 2017 and from 10.3% in February 2016.

The EU28 unemployment rate was 8.0% in February 2017, down from 8.1% in January 2017 and from 8.9% in February 2016.

This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since January 2009.

Eurostat estimated that 19.75 million in the EU28, of whom 15.439 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in February 2017.

Compared with January 2017, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 153,000 in the EU28 and by 140,000 in the euro area.

Compared with February 2016, unemployment fell by 1.852 million in the EU28 and by 1.246 million in the euro area.

Among member states, the lowest unemployment rates in February 2017 were recorded in the Czech Republic (3.4%), Germany (3.9%) and Malta (4.1%).

The highest unemployment rates were recorded in Greece (23.1% in December 2016) and Spain (18%).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in February 2017 fell in 26 member states, while it increased in Denmark (from 6.0% to 6.4%) and Lithuania (from 8.0% to 8.3%).

The largest decreases were registered in Croatia (from 14.4% to 11.6%), Spain (from 20.5% to 18.0%), Portugal (from 12.2% to 10.0%) and Ireland (from 8.4% to 6.6%).

Youth unemployment remains a massive problem in some countries.

In February 2017, 3.905 million people under 25 were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 2.722 million were in the euro area.

Compared with February 2016, youth unemployment decreased by 475,000 in the EU28 and by 309,000 in the euro area.

In February 2017, youth unemployment was 17.3% in the EU28 and 19.4% in the euro area, compared with 19.3% and 21.6% respectively in February 2016.

In February 2017, the lowest youth unemployment rate was observed in Germany (6.6%), while the highest rates were recorded in Greece (45.2% in December 2016), Spain (41.5%) and Italy (35.2%).