The EU27 unemployment rate was 8.9% in May 2009, compared with 8.7% in April. It was 6.8% in May 2008. For the euro area this is the highest rate since May 1999 and for the EU27 since June 2005.
Eurostat estimates that 21.462 million men and women in the EU27, of which 15.013 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in May 2009. Compared with April, the number of persons unemployed increased by 385 000 in the EU27 and by 273 000 in the euro area. Compared with May 2008, unemployment went up by 5.111 million in the EU27 and by 3.400 million in the euro area.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (3.2%) and Austria (4.3%), and the highest rates in Spain (18.7%), Latvia (16.3%) and Estonia (15.6%). Compared with a year ago, all Member States recorded an increase in their unemployment rate. The lowest increases were observed in Germany (7.4% to 7.7%) and the Netherlands (2.8% to 3.2%). The highest increases were registered in Estonia (3.9% to 15.6%), Latvia (6.1% to 16.3%) and Lithuania (4.7% to 14.3%).
In May 2009, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 19.6% in the euro area and 19.5% in the EU27. In May 2008 it was 15.0% in both zones.