Europe Unemployment Rate Rises to Highest Since 1999

Europe’s unemployment rate rose to the highest in almost 10 years in April as the worst global economic slump in more than six decades forced companies to cut jobs and spending.

The euro area (EA16) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.2% in April 2009, compared with 8.9% in March. It was 7.3% in April 2008. The EU27 unemployment rate was 8.6% in April 2009, compared with 8.4% in March. It was 6.8% in April 2008. For the euro area this is the highest rate since September 1999, and for the EU27 since January 2006.

Eurostat estimates that 20.825 million men and women in the EU27, of which 14.579 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in April 2009. Compared with March, the number of persons unemployed increased by 556 000 in the EU27 and by 396 000 in the euro area. Compared with April 2008, unemployment went up by 4.653 million in the EU27 and by 3.100 million in the euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (3.0%) and Austria (4.2%), and the highest rates in Spain (18.1%), Latvia (17.4%) and Lithuania (16.8%).

Compared with a year ago, two Member States recorded a fall in their unemployment rate and twenty-five Member States an increase. The falls were observed in Romania (6.1% to 5.8% between the fourth quarters of 2007 and
2008) and Greece (7.9% to 7.8% between the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2008). The highest increases were registered in Lithuania (4.3% to 16.8%), Latvia (6.1% to 17.4%) and Estonia (3.7% to 13.9%)., Eurostat
6/2/2009 8:35:11 AM