EuroStat have just released their latest findings and it doesn’t make for happy reading.
The Euro zone of countries seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7% in January 2012, compared with 10.6% in December 2011. It was 10.0% in January 2011. A total rise of 0.7% in one year. (Or nearly a 10% increase.)
The unemployment rate in the whole of the EU was 10.1% in January 2012, compared to 9.5% in January 2011. And that is a rise of 0.6% over the last year. So, Europe as a whole does slightly better than the Euro zone alone. At the moment it looks like it is more benificial to be outside the Euro zone than being inside it.
Eurostat estimates that in January 2012 24.325.000 (>24 million) men and women were unemployed in the whole of the EU, of whom 16.925.000 were in the euro area. Compared with December 2011, the number of unemployed increased by 191.000 in the whole of the EU and by 185.000 in the Euro zone. Compared with January 2011, unemployment rose by 1.488.000 in the whole of the EU and by 1.221.000 in the Euro zone. So it clearly is the Euro zone where the problems are.
But within the Euro zone there are big differences. Austria (4.0%), the Netherlands (5.0%) and Luxembourg (5.1%) had the lowest levels of unemployment, and the highest levels were found in Spain (23.3%), Greece (19.9%), Ireland and Portugal (both 14.8%).
The largest falls in unemployment over the previous year were observed in Latvia (18.2% to 14.7% between the third quarters of 2010 and 2011), Lithuania (17.5% to 14.3% between the fourth quarters of 2010 and 2011) and Estonia (13.9% to 11.7% between the fourth quarters of 2010 and 2011). The highest increases were registered in Greece (14.1% to 19.9% between November 2010 and November 2011), Cyprus (6.3% to 9.6%) and Spain (20.6% to 23.3%).
These differences are most likely caused by the fact that the Baltic countries were hit hard when the crisis hit in 2008 and have reformed their economies earlier than the euro zone countries. They’re now reaping the benefits of that.
In comparison, the unemployment rate in the USA in January 2012 was 8.3%. In December 2011 it was 4.6% in Japan.