The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.6% in February 2010, compared with 9.5% in January. It was 8.3% in February 2009. For the euro area this is the highest rate since August 1998 and for the EU27 since the start of the series in January 2000.
Eurostat estimates that 23.019 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 15.749 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in February 2010. Compared with January 2010, the number of persons unemployed increased by 131 000 in the EU27 and by 61 000 in the euro area. Compared with February 2009, unemployment went up by 3.139 million in the EU27 and by 1.844 million in the euro area.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (4.0%) and Austria (5.0%), and the highest rates in Latvia (21.7%) and Spain (19.0%).
Compared with a year ago, all Member States recorded an increase in their unemployment rate. The smallest increases were observed in Luxembourg (5.4% to 5.5%), Germany (7.3% to 7.5%), and Belgium (7.7% to 8.0%). The highest increases were registered in Latvia (13.2% to 21.7%), Estonia (7.6% to 15.5% between the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009) and Lithuania (8.1% to 15.8% between the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009).
Between February 2009 and February 2010, the unemployment rate for males rose from 8.5% to 10.0% in the euro area and from 8.2% to 9.8% in the EU27. The female unemployment rate increased from 9.2% to 10.0% in the euro area and from 8.4% to 9.3% in the EU27.
In February 2010, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 20.0% in the euro area and 20.6% in the EU27. In February 2009 it was 18.4% in both zones. The lowest rate was observed in the Netherlands (7.3%), and the highest rates in Latvia (41.3% in the fourth quarter of 2009) and Spain (40.7%).