Eurozone unemployment edged down just 10,000 to 17.603 million in August. The jobless rate was 11.0 percent, a tick higher than expected but in line with its upwardly revised July print.
Amongst the larger four member states, the national unemployment rate was 0.1 percentage points lower at (just) 4.5 percent in Germany, 22.2 percent in Spain and 11.9 percent in Italy. However, the French rate rose for a third successive month to a new high of 10.8 percent. Top of the jobless ladder was again Greece (25.2 percent in June) while the German rate was comfortably short of the second lowest reading, Malta (5.1 percent).
There was disappointing news on youth unemployment which increased from 22.2 percent in July to 23.3 percent. Within this, the regional spread was vast with Germany weighing in at just 7.0 percent and Greece at fully 48.3 percent.
Recent surveys have suggested that employment is gradually picking up in the Eurozone as a whole but improvements remain sluggish and too slow to provide the necessary boost to consumption to get real GDP growth really moving 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.
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