They Thought Europe's Unemployment Had stabilised... But Now It's Soaring Again

Greek bling

Europe had three months of apparent labour market stabilisation… but now unemployment has begun to get worse again.

Latest data shows that Eurozone unemployment in February hit its highest level in 11 years, rising to 10%. Wider European data deteriorated as well, hitting 9.6%.

Yet Germany could be bucking the trend, which if true would only further inflame European tensions:


More up-to-date figures released by Germany’s federal labour agency earlier Wednesday showed that the number of people registered as unemployed in the euro zone’s biggest economy dropped by 31,000 in March, defying expectations of a 10,000 increase.

However, economists also noted that the state of the German labour market, which has been shielded from the impact of the global credit crunch and ensuing recession by government measures, contrasts with several of the region’s peripheral countries.

Eurostat said 61,000 people joined unemployment queues across the euro zone in February, more than the 38,000 than were reported to have lost their jobs in the first month of the year. As a result, the total number of jobless people hit 15.7 million—more than the entire populations of Austria and Ireland combined. Some 1.8 million people lost their jobs across the currency bloc in the 12 months to February, Eurostat said.

The way in which Europe had stabilised, then deteriorated is peculiar. It makes you realise that trends can change quite quickly. Thus while U.S. unemployment declines have arguably stabilised, there’s no guarantee tha they couldn’t suddenly accelerate later this year.

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