EMU: Unemployment Rate

Wed Jan 31 04:00:00 CST 2018

Consensus Actual Previous
Level 8.7% 8.7% 8.7%

Eurozone joblessness continued its downward path in December. A 134,000 decline in the number of people out of work (to 14.137 million) followed a sharper revised 133,000 drop in November but was not quite enough to reduce the unemployment rate which held at 8.7 percent, in line with expectations.

Amongst the larger member states, the rates in France, Germany and Italy were all down another tick at 9.2 percent, 3.6 percent and 10.8 percent respectively. Spain saw a slightly steeper drop of 0.2 percentage points to 16.4 percent. Elsewhere, Malta (3.6 percent) shared the bottom rung of the jobless ladder with Germany while Greece (20.7 percent in November) remained firmly at the top.

There was also further good news on youth unemployment where a 21,000 decrease saw the rate drop 2 ticks to 17.9 percent, a 2.4 percentage point fall versus a year ago.

Declining joblessness will have been crucial to last year's rise in consumer confidence which, according to the latest EU Commission survey, was not far short of its all-time high this month.

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.