Huge differences in European unemployment

The latest EuroStat report shows that the levels of unemployment across European regions varies enormously, from the lowest level in Tirol & Salzburg in Austria (2.5%) to the highest level in Andalucia (30.4%) and the Canary Islands (29.7%) in Spain.

The best performing 44 regions had an unemployment rate of 4.8% or less in 2011, half the average for the European Union. These included sixteen regions in Germany, ten of the twelve regions in the Netherlands, eight out of nine regions in Austria, four in Belgium, two in Italy and one each in the Czech Republic, France, Romania and the United Kingdom.

These figures really show the disparity between the North and the South in Europe.

At the other extreme, seventeen regions had a rate of 19.2% or higher, double the average of the European Union: ten regions in Spain, four French Overseas Departments and three regions in Greece. The French Overseas Departments however are distorting the picture. These were already performing badly before the economic crisis hit.

When you’re young (<24 yr) you’d better not live in Ceuta, an old Spanish city on the Moroccan coast. 65.8% of all people under the age of 24 are unemployed. However the outlook for young people in the EU is rather bleak at the moment, 75% of all regions in the EU had an unemployment rate for young people that was double the general average.

This shows that the economies around the Mediterranean need to get rid of red tape and enable young entrepreneurs to establish themselves. If you can’t find a job, the next best thing is start your own company. But when government makes it difficult to start a company, why bother. This attitude also explains why so many young French entrepreneurs have moved to London, which is now France’s sixth biggest city. They have set up several successful companies, predominantly in the creative sector in East London.


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