Euro area unemployment rate


May 2011

Euro area unemployment rate at 9.9%

EU27 at 9.3%

The euro area1 (EA17) seasonally-adjusted2 unemployment rate3 was 9.9% in May 2011, unchanged compared with April4. It was 10.2% in May 2010. The EU271 unemployment rate was 9.3% in May 2011, unchanged compared with April4. It was 9.7% in May 2010.

Eurostat estimates that 22.378 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 15.510 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in May 2011. Compared with April 2011, the number of persons unemployed fell by 5 000 in the EU27 and increased by 16 000 in the euro area. Compared with May 20105, unemployment decreased by 904 000 in the EU27 and by 551 000 in the euro area.

These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (4.2%), Austria (4.3%) and Luxembourg (4.5%), and the highest in Spain (20.9%), Lithuania (16.3% in the first quarter of 2011) and Latvia (16.2% in the first quarter of 2011).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate fell in nineteen Member States and increased in eight. The largest falls were observed in Estonia (18.8% to 13.8% between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011), Latvia (19.9% to 16.2% between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011), Germany (7.2% to 6.0%), Hungary (11.2% to 10.0%) and Slovakia (14.5% to 13.3%). The highest increases were registered in Greece (11.0% to 15.0% between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011), Bulgaria (10.1% to 11.2%), Cyprus (6.4% to 7.4%) and Slovenia (7.3% to 8.3%).

Between May 2010 and May 2011, the unemployment rate for males fell from 10.1% to 9.6% in the euro area and from 9.8% to 9.2% in the EU27. The female unemployment rate decreased from 10.4% to 10.2% in the euro area and from 9.6% to 9.5% in the EU27.

In May 2011, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 20.0% in the euro area and 20.4% in the EU27. In May 2010 it was 21.2% in both zones. The lowest rates were observed in the Netherlands (6.9%), Germany (7.7%) and Austria (9.1%), and the highest in Spain (44.4%), Greece (38.5% in the first quarter of 2011), Slovakia (33.7%) and Lithuania (32.9% in the first quarter of 2011).

In May 2011, the unemployment rate was 9.1% in the USA. In April 2011, it was 4.7% in Japan.

  • The euro area (EA17) consists of Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.

The EU27 includes Belgium (BE), Bulgaria (BG), the Czech Republic (CZ), Denmark (DK), Germany (DE), Estonia (EE), Ireland (IE), Greece (EL), Spain (ES), France (FR), Italy (IT), Cyprus (CY), Latvia (LV), Lithuania (LT), Luxembourg (LU), Hungary (HU), Malta (MT), the Netherlands (NL), Austria (AT), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Romania (RO), Slovenia (SI), Slovakia (SK), Finland (FI), Sweden (SE) and the United Kingdom (UK).

  • Non-seasonally adjusted and trend data can be found in the statistical database on the Eurostat website.

  • Eurostat produces harmonised unemployment rates for individual EU Member States, the euro area and the EU. These unemployment rates are based on the definition recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The measurement is based on a harmonised source, the European Union Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Based on the ILO definition, Eurostat defines unemployed persons as persons aged 15 to 74 who:

– are without work;

– are available to start work within the next two weeks;

– and have actively sought employment at some time during the previous four weeks.

The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed as a percentage of the labour force. The labour force is the total number of people employed plus unemployed.

The numbers of unemployed and the monthly unemployment rates are estimates based on results of the LFS which is a continuous household survey carried out in Member States on the basis of agreed definitions. These results are interpolated/extrapolated to monthly data using national survey data and/or national monthly series on registered unemployment. The most recent figures are therefore provisional; results from the Labour Force Survey are available 90 days after the end of the reference period for most Member States.

Monthly unemployment and employment series are calculated first at the level of four categories for each Member State (males and females 15-24 years, males and females 25-74 years). These series are then seasonally adjusted and all the national and European aggregates are calculated.

Member States may publish other rates such as register based unemployment rates, or rates based on national Labour Force Surveys or corresponding surveys. These rates may vary from those published by Eurostat due to a different definition or methodological choices.

Current deviations from the definition of unemployment in the EU Labour Force Survey:

Spain, Italy and United Kingdom: Unemployment is restricted to persons aged 16-74. In Spain and Italy the legal minimum age for working is 16. Employment data used for Italy includes also those above 74.

  • Compared with the rates published in News Release 76/2011 of 31 May 2011, the April 2011 unemployment rate remain unchanged for the EA17 and has been revised from 9.4% to 9.3% for the EU27. Among Member States, the rate has been revised by between 0.2 to 0.4 percentage points for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Portugal. Higher revisions were recorded for Belgium (-0.5%), Ireland (-0.7%), Hungary (-1.3%) and Slovakia (-0.5%). The revisions are primarily caused by the inclusion of the most recent EU Labour Force Survey data in the calculation process and updates to the seasonally adjusted series. For the revisions to the data for Portugal see footnote 5.

The following LFS data are used in the calculations of the monthly unemployment rates published in this News Release:

For Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden monthly data up to and including May 2011.

For the United Kingdom monthly data up to and including February – March – April 2011 (3-month rolling average).

For Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia quarterly data up to and including Q1 2011.

  • The data collection mode of the Portuguese LFS has been changed beginning with the first quarter of 2011. This has led to a break in the monthly unemployment series in January 2011. Based on available information about the quantitative impact of the break (see also Press Release from the Portuguese statistical office), estimates of data up to and including December 2010 published in this current release have been made to allow meaningful comparisons. These values are also used for the European aggregates.

  • Italy has implemented a method to produce monthly unemployment data purely based on the LFS. For the moment, these data should be considered provisional.

  • Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania: quarterly data for all series.

Cyprus and Slovenia: quarterly data for youth unemployment.

  • For Germany, Austria and Finland the trend component is used instead of the more volatile seasonally adjusted data.

Selected Principal European Economic Indicators: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/euroindicators

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED UNEMPLOYMENT RATES (%)

TOTALS

May 2010 Nov 2010 Dec 2010 Jan 2011 Feb 2011 Mar 2011 Apr 2011 May 2011
EA17 10.2 10.1 10.0 10.0 10.0 9.9 9.9 9.9
EU27 9.7 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.3 9.3
BE 8.4 8.0 7.7 7.4 7.1 7.1 7.2 7.3
BG 10.1 11.3 11.3 11.2 11.1 11.1 11.1 11.2
CZ 7.3 7.0 7.2 7.0 6.9 6.7 6.6 6.5
DK 7.5 7.7 7.6 7.7 7.6 7.6 7.3 7.4
DE8 7.2 6.7 6.6 6.4 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.0
EE7 18.0 14.4 14.4 13.8 13.8 13.8 : :
IE 13.5 14.4 14.6 14.4 14.3 14.1 14.0 14.0
EL7 12.2 14.1 14.1 15.0 15.0 15.0 : :
ES 20.0 20.5 20.4 20.4 20.6 20.7 20.7 20.9
FR 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.6 9.6 9.5
IT6 8.6 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.0 8.1
CY 6.4 6.5 6.5 6.6 6.8 6.9 7.2 7.4
LV7 19.4 17.0 17.0 16.2 16.2 16.2 : :
LT7 18.3 17.3 17.3 16.3 16.3 16.3 : :
LU 4.4 4.5 4.5 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.5
HU 11.2 11.0 11.0 11.5 10.9 10.6 10.3 10.0
MT 7.0 6.5 6.5 6.3 6.4 6.2 6.2 6.2
NL 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2 4.2 4.2
AT8 4.5 4.2 4.2 4.5 4.6 4.4 4.2 4.3
PL 9.7 9.6 9.5 9.4 9.3 9.2 9.2 9.2
PT5 12.0e 12.3e 12.4e 12.4 12.4 12.4 12.4 12.4
RO7 7.2 7.4 7.4 7.0 7.0 7.0 : :
SI 7.3 7.7 8.1 8.1 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.3
SK 14.5 14.1 13.9 13.6 13.5 13.4 13.4 13.3
FI8 8.5 8.1 8.1 8.0 8.0 8.0 7.9 7.8
SE 8.6 7.8 7.8 7.9 7.6 7.7 7.5 7.7
UK 7.8 7.7 7.8 7.7 7.7 7.6 : :
NO 3.6 3.6 3.4 3.3 3.2 3.3 3.4 :
US 9.6 9.8 9.4 9.0 8.9 8.8 9.0 9.1
JP 5.1 5.1 4.9 4.9 4.6 4.6 4.7 :

: Data not available e: Estimate Source: Eurostat

Source: Eurostat Press Office

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