Greek unemployment dips to 27 pct in June, but still highest in EU

Greek unemployment dipped slightly in June to 27 percent from May’s figure of 27.1 percent but the crisis-hit country still has the highest jobless rate in the European Union, figures published on Tuesday by the EU’s statistical agency, Eurostat, showed.

In the EU28, the average unemployment rate stood at 10.1 percent in August 2014, the lowest since February 2012, and down from 10.2 percent in July.

The euro area (EA18) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.5 percent in August, stable compared with July, but down from 12 percent in August last year.

With 1.3 million people out of work, Greece still has the highest jobless rate in Europe, followed by Spain, which saw its unemployment rate at 24.4 percent his July. This, however, is an improvement from a year ago, when the rate stood at 26.1 percent.

The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.7 percent) and Germany (4.9 percent).

Youth unemployment figures are of special concern as Eurostat reported that 4.989 million young persons under the age of 25 were unemployed in the EU28 in August. Of these, 3.332 million were in the euro area. The rate of youth unemployment in August came to 21.6 percent in the EU28 and 23.3 percent in the euro area, compared with 23.5 percent and 23.9 percent respectively in August 2013. The highest rates of youth unemployment were recorded in Spain (53.7 percent), Greece (51.5 percent in June compared with 58.4 percent in August 2013), Italy (44.2 percent) and Croatia (43.9 percent in the second quarter 2014).

The lowest rates were observed in Germany (7.6 percent), Austria (8.2 percent) and the Netherlands (10.1 percent).

“The level of unemployment has been slowly decreasing in Europe over the last year, but remains unacceptably high,” EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said in a statement.

“In the absence of overall economic growth, no labor market reform can resolve an economic crisis of the magnitude we are experiencing in Europe,” he added.

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