Tuesday, April 1, 2014

EU: Unemployment in Twenty-Eight Nation Eurozone Remains Flat at 11.9%

According to The Associated Press, the unemployment rate across the euro-zone was steady near record highs in February 2014, official data showed Tuesday (April 1), indicating the economic recovery is not sufficiently strong to create enough new jobs.

While the number of jobless dropped slightly, the unemployment rate remains flat at 11.9%, where it has been since October 2013, according to Eurostat, the EU's statistical agency. It peaked at 12.1% last year.

"The figures suggest that the economic recovery is still too weak to make a significant dent in the high level of unemployment," said analyst Jonathan Loynes of Capital Economics.

The rate for the wider 28-nation EU (which includes members like Britain and Poland that don't use the euro currency) dipped to 10.6% from 10.7% in January.

COMMENT: The number of unemployed in the EU was down by 785,000 over the previous 12 months, during which time the economy emerged from recession and the recovery spread to the most crisis-prone economies in southern Europe.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, predicts the euro-zone economy will grow only 1.1% in 2014, while the EU's will expand 1.4%. That would pale in comparison to the US economy, which some expect to grow 3%, but would still be the bloc's best performance since 2011.

The euro-zone unemployment rate for those under the age of 25 dropped slightly from 23.6% in January to 23.5% in February, echoed by a drop from 23% to 22.9% for the wider EU.

In Spain, which has the bloc's highest unemployment rate alongside Greece, the overall unemployment rate fell from 25.8% in January to 25.6% in February. In Italy, the rate continued an uninterrupted climb from about 12% a year earlier to 13% in February.

In Germany, the bloc's largest economy, the jobless rate remains at 5.1% and dropped slightly to 4.8% in Austria. according to Eurostat.