Eurozone joblessness slipped from 17.25 million in September to 17.24 million in October. The decline was enough to reduce the unemployment rate by just a tick to 10.7 percent, slightly below market expectations and its lowest level since January 2012.
However, less optimistically, the decline in the headline rate was not mirrored in youth unemployment which saw a 0.1 percentage point increase to 22.3 percent.
Even so, reflecting the increasingly broad-based improvement in the Eurozone economy, national unemployment rates declined in a number of member states. That said, amongst the larger four countries the rate was only unchanged at 10.8 percent in France, 4.5 percent in Germany and 21.6 percent Spain. Italy eked out a minimal 0.1 percentage point dip to 11.5 percent. Top of the jobless ladder was still Greece (24.6 in August) while Malta (4.1 percent) was just one place above Germany which continues to occupy the bottom rung.
The economy seems to be growing fast enough now to dent the unemployment numbers but a more significant decline will probably require a stock adjustment in momentum and of this there is currently no obvious sign.
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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