No longer the worst of times for euro zone unemployment, but still a long way down to go

December 1, 2015

French non-union self-employed workers attend a demonstration against the RSI (social security for independent workers) in Paris, France, September 21, 2015. The banner reads"Too many taxes equal unemployment".    REUTERS/Charles Platiau - RTX1RQM4

Finally there’s some good news on an economic statistic that really matters for the euro zone’s future – unemployment.

It’s still coming down, although more sharply in some countries than others. Italy’s jobless rate, for example, has tumbled a whole percentage point in less than six months, easily beating economists’ expectations for most of this year.

But a quick look at the data shows just how much further there is to go to reclaim unemployment rates from before the financial crisis struck and the Great Recession took hold.

Euro zone unemployment

While many of these jobless rates are falling significantly, including a new low for Germany since unification of East and West, France appears to be going in the wrong direction.

Eurostat’s measure of the French unemployment rate climbed above the euro zone average for the first time since 2007, before the crisis.

And there is that inconvenient truth about youth.

However you slice the numbers, at this stage, youth unemployment remains at catastrophic levels in three of the four biggest economies in the euro zone: France, Italy and Spain.

Euro zone unemployment with youth

 

— Graphics by Vincent Flasseur 

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