The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.7% in October 2012, up from 11.6% in September. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.7% in October 2012, up from 10.6% in September. In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with October 2011, when they were 10.4% and 9.9% respectively.
Eurostat estimates that 25.913 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 18.703 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in October 2012. Compared with September 2012, the number of persons unemployed increased by 204 000 in the EU27 and by 173 000 in the euro area. Compared with October 2011, unemployment rose by 2.160 million in the EU27 and by 2.174 million in the euro area.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.3%), Luxembourg (5.1%), Germany (5.4%) and the Netherlands (5.5%), and the highest in Spain (26.2%) and Greece (25.4% in August 2012).
Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate increased in sixteen Member States, fell in nine and remained stable in Austria and Slovenia. The largest decreases were observed in Estonia (11.5% to 9.6% between September 2011 and September 2012), Lithuania (14.2% to 12.4%) and Latvia (15.7% to 14.2% between the third quarters of 2011 and 2012). The highest increases were registered in Greece (18.4% to 25.4% between August 2011 and August 2012), Cyprus (9.2% to 12.9%), Spain (22.7% to 26.2%) and Portugal (13.7% to 16.3%).
In October 2012, 5.678 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU27, of whom 3.609 million were in the euro area. Compared with October 2011, youth unemployment rose by 279 000 in the EU27 and by 350 000 in the euro area. In October 2012, the youth unemployment rate was 23.4% in the EU27 and 23.9% in the euro area, compared with 21.9% and 21.2% respectively in October 2011. In October 2012 the lowest rates were observed in Germany (8.1%), Austria (8.5%) and the Netherlands (9.8%) and the highest in Greece (57.0% in August 2012) and Spain (55.9%).
The unemployment rate continued its steady rise, reaching 11.7% in October, up from 11.6% the month before and 10.4% a year ago.
A further 173,000 were out of work across the single currency area, bringing the total to 18.7 million.
The respective fortunes of northern and southern Europe diverged further. In Spain, the jobless rate rose to 26.2% from 25.8% the previous month, and in Italy it rose to 11.1% from 10.8%.
In contrast, unemployment in Germany held steady at 5.4% of the labour force, while in Austria it fell from 4.4% to just 4.3%.
“The real problem is that we have a two-speed Europe,” economist Alberto Gallo of Royal Bank of Scotland told the BBC. “The biggest increase in unemployment is being driven by Italy and Spain.
“It is the same as you are seeing in financial markets,” he explained. “The periphery [Spain and Italy] is the area where the banks are the least capitalised and need the most help, and the loan rates are the highest.”
Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from