Euro area unemployment reaches record levels

Unemployment in the eurozone has soared to a record high, according to the EU statistics service Eurostat.

Seasonably adjusted unemployment in the EA17 core reached 10.3% in October and 9.8% for the wider EU27. Both represent the highest levels of unemployment since the inception of the single currency.

Howard Archer, the chief UK and European economist for IHS Global Insight, comments on today’s figures: “It is evident that deteriorating economic activity and weakened business confidence is taking an increasing toll on eurozone labour markets.

“Significantly, deterioration in labour markets is occurring in most eurozone countries now, not just the markedly struggling southern periphery economies. This in turn has worrying implications for consumer spending and intensifies eurozone recession fears,” he adds.

Eurostat estimates that 23.6m people are now out of work in the EU27, 16.3m of which are in the EU17. This represents an additional 130,000 unemployed compared to September.

Austria had the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.1% in October, while Spain once again had the highest rate with 22.8% of the population out of work.

Over the course of the past twelve months, unemployment has risen in fifteen member states and declined in twelve. Estonia recorded the largest decline, from 16.1% to 11.3%, and Greece recorded the largest increase, moving from 12.9% to 18.3%.

A flash estimate from Eurostat also estimates that the euro area inflation rate for November will remain unchanged from October at 3%.