EMU: Unemployment Rate

Thu Apr 30 04:00:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Actual Previous
Level 11.2% 11.3% 11.3%

The Eurozone labour market made limited progress in March. Joblessness fell a further 36,000 to 18.105 million but the unemployment rate held steady at 11.3 percent, a tick above market expectations.

Amongst the larger member states the national jobless rate was unchanged in France (10.6 percent) and Germany (4.7 percent) and declined another tick to 23.0 percent in Spain. However, Italy saw its rate jump 0.3 percentage points to 13.0 percent, just a couple of ticks short of last November's record high. Top of the pile was again Greece (25.7 percent in January) while Germany remained at the bottom.

Youth unemployment was also unchanged at 22.7 percent following a downward revision to the February rate.

Today's figures confirm just a slow improvement in the Eurozone jobs market and underline the pressure on the region's policymakers to get growth really going again.

The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force.

Unemployment data are closely monitored by the financial markets. These data give a comprehensive report on the state of the economy and its future direction. A rising unemployment rate can be a warning sign of hard times while a low rate can be a warning of inflation as wages are bid up to attract labor.

Unemployment data are expressed in both a numerical value and as a percentage of the labor force. Generally, the definition of those unemployed follows that of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It states that an unemployed person is one between the ages of 15 to 74 years of age who was not employed during the reference week, had actively sought work during the past four weeks and was ready to begin working immediately or within two weeks. The unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed persons over the total number of active persons in the labor market. Active persons are those who are either employed or unemployed.

Eurostat provides an unemployment rate for each EU country as well as for the EMU and EU as a whole. It should be noted that the unemployment rate for a country will frequently differ with that reported by the national statistics agency. That is because of the varying interpretations of the ILO definition by member states and Eurostat.