Following a downwardly revised 11.2 percent in March the Eurozone jobless rate fell 0.1 percentage points to undershoot expectations at 11.1 percent in April. This was its lowest reading in more than three years. The total number of people out of work stood at 17.846 million, down from 17.976 million in March and 18.011 million in February.
There was also good news on youth unemployment where the rate dropped to 22.3 percent from a revised 22.6 percent last time.
Amongst the larger EMU members, the national jobless rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 12.4 percent in Italy and by the same amount to 22.7 percent in Spain. France (10.5 percent) and Germany (4.7 percent) were both unchanged. Top of the jobless ladder was again Greece (25.4 percent in February) while Germany continued to occupy the bottom rung.
The improvement in the labour market is almost certainly a vital plank in any sustainable Eurozone economic recovery. Progress remains painfully slow but at least underlying trends are moving in the right direction.
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.
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