The labour market failed to make any progress in June as a 31,000 increase in the number of people out of work left the jobless rate unchanged at 11.1 percent, in line with expectations and its third consecutive month at this level.
Moreover, there was disappointing news on youth unemployment where the rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 22.5 percent.
Amongst the four larger members, the national jobless rate was steady in France (10.2 percent) and Germany (4.7 percent) and fell another tick in Spain (22.5 percent). However, the Italian rate was up 0.2 percentage points at 12.7 percent. Elsewhere, Greece remained top of the unemployment ladder (25.6 percent in April) and there were fresh rises in Finland (to 7.6 percent), Cyprus (to 16.2 percent) and Lithuania (to 8.5 percent).
Overall the jobless data are something of a setback for policymakers and reinforce the impression that the Eurozone economic recovery remains painfully slow.
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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