BCC welcomes fall in EU unemployment

Despite the crisis in Greece, unemployment levels across Europe are falling, with Eurostat the statistical office of the EU, publishing its seasonally adjusted figures.

The EU unemployment rate was 9.6% in May 2015, which down from 10.3% in May 2014. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU since July 2011.

The unemployment rate in the euro area was 11.1% in May 2015  down from 11.6% in May 2014. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since March 2012.

Main findings

Eurostat estimates that 23.348 million men and women in the EU, of whom 17.726 million in the euro area, were unemployed in May 2015. Compared with April 2015, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 38 000 in the EU and by 35 000 in the euro area. Compared with May 2014, unemployment fell by 1.575 million in the EU and by 939 000 in the euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rate in May 2015 was recorded in Germany (4.7%), and the highest rates in Greece (25.6% in March 2015) and Spain (22.5%).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in May 2015 fell in twenty-two Member States increased in five and remained stable in Cyprus. The largest decreases were registered in Lithuania (11% to 8.2%), Spain (24.7% to 22.5%) and Ireland (11.7% to 9.8%). The increases were registered in Belgium (8.4% to 8.6%), France (10.1% to 10.3%), Romania (6.8% to 7.1%), Austria (5.6% to 6.0%) and Finland (8.6% to 9.4%).

In May 2015, the youth unemployment rate (under 25 years old) was 20.6% in the EU and 22.1% in the euro area, compared with 22.2% and 23.8% respectively in May 2014. In May 2015, the lowest rates were observed in Germany (7.1%), Denmark (10.0%) and Austria (10.1%), and the highest in Greece (49.7% in March 2015), Spain (49.3%), Croatia (43.6% in the first quarter 2015) and Italy (41.5%).

In May 2015, the unemployment rate in the United States was 5.5%, up from 5.4% in April 2015 and down from 6.3% in May 2014.



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