EMU: Unemployment Rate

Wed May 02 04:00:00 CDT 2018

Consensus Actual Previous
Level 8.5% 8.5% 8.5%

The Eurozone labour market made additional progress in March. An 83,000 fall in the number of people out of work followed a steeper revised 157,000 drop in February but was not enough to lower the jobless rate from February's 8.5 percent. The outcome was in line with market expectations.

Amongst the larger states, the unemployment rate dipped 0.1 percentage points to 3.4 percent in Germany and by the same amount to 8.8 percent in France and 16.1 percent in Spain. However, Italy (11.0 percent) was only unchanged. Greece (20.6 percent in January) remained at the top of the jobless ladder and Malta (3.3 percent) at the bottom.

Meantime, youth unemployment declined a further 42,000 which saw its rate drop 0.2 percentage points to 17.3 percent, a 2.1 percentage point decrease from a year ago.

Although healthy, the 83,000 fall in overall March unemployment was significantly smaller than the declines seen over most of 2017. The first quarter's 248,000 drop compares with a 386,000 decrease in the fourth quarter. The region's labour market is responding to slower economic growth.

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.