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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Average unemployment in Europe higher than ever in October. Credit crisis hit hard on unemployment in the PIIGS countries, but had hardly any consequences in the strong Euro-countries.

Today the European unemployment figures for October were presented by Eurostat, the European statistics institute. The EU-27 show an unemployment rate of 9.8%.  Average unemployment of 10.3%  in the Euro-area is said never to be higher since the beginning of data collection. Here are the pertinent snips of the Eurostat Press Release:

Euro area unemployment rate at 10.3%
EU27 at 9.8%

The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.3% in October 2011, compared with 10.2% in September. It was 10.1% in October 2010. The EU271 unemployment rate was 9.8% in October 2011, compared with 9.7% in September. It was 9.6% in October 2010.

Eurostat estimates that 23.554 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 16.294 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in October 2011. Compared with September 2011, the number of persons unemployed increased by 130 000 in the EU27 and by 126 000 in the euro area. Compared with October 2010, unemployment rose by 440 000 in the EU27 and by 367 000 in the euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.1%), Luxembourg (4.7%) and the Netherlands (4.8%), and the highest in Spain (22.8%), Greece (18.3% in August 2011) and Latvia (16.2% in the second quarter of 2011).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate fell in twelve Member States and increased in fifteen.

The largest falls were observed in Estonia (16.1% to 11.3% between the third quarters of 2010 and 2011), Lithuania (18.3% to 15.0% between the third quarters of 2010 and 2011) and Latvia (19.3% to 16.2% between the second quarters of 2010 and 2011).

The highest increases were registered in Greece (12.9% to 18.3% between August 2010 and August 2011), Spain (20.5% to 22.8%) and Cyprus (6.0% to 8.2%).

I took the September-October 2011 month on month data of all countries that supplied unemployment figures and put it into two tables. Countries that didn´t deliver their data for October in time were left out for convenience: a.o. Greece, the UK and the Baltic States. Inquiring readers should click the link of Eurostat.

Unemployment month on month for October 2011
All data courtesy of Eurostat 

Unemployment month on month for October 2011
All data courtesy of Eurostat 
Outliers in these data are Portugal, Slovakia, Croatia, Greece and Spain with an unemployment that is significantly higher than all other countries. Of these outliers only Croatia showed improvement.

But also here I tried to find the truths and trends behind the facts, by looking at the longterm unemployment data of both the PIIGS and the strong Euro-countries (Germany, France, Luxemburg, Finland, Austria and The Netherlands). These showed some interesting differences.

Youth Unemployment

Unemployment male youngsters.
All data courtesy of Eurostat
Especially in this chart of male youngsters, you can see how hard the credit crisis hit the PIIGS countries. Although unemployment among male youngster has always been quite high with a minimum trendline of 5% and a maximum trendline of 23%, male youth unemployment skyrocketed in the PIIGS countries, since the crisis broke out.

Unemployment female youngsters.
All data courtesy of Eurostat
The situation for female youngsters has always been more difficult in Spain, Greece and Italy with unemployment well above the 25% trendline throughout the years. However, female youth unemployment in Portugal and especially Ireland also skyrocketed, due to the credit crisis.


Unemployment males above 25.
All data courtesy of Eurostat
This chart shocked me as it ruthlessly showed how worse the labor situation for males older than 25 had been in Germany throughout the first decade. Where the PIIGS and the other strong Euro-countries had an unemployment rate of under 7.5%, the Germans scored years of 8+% unemployment. Only in 2010 their unemployment went structurally beneath the upper trend line. The PIIGS plus France, but minus Italy have been hit extremely hard by the credit crisis.

Unemployment females above 25.
All data courtesy of Eurostat
Again there is a different image in the female unemployment. Greece and Spain have been problem zones for female unemployment throughout the years, although the situation deteriorated clearly by the credit crisis. Portugal, however, is a clear victim of the crisis. Germany, an outlier throughout the years with male unemployment, is clearly within the boundaries for female unemployment. 

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