Unemployment in Europe - Statistics & Facts

Unemployment is defined as the state of being without a job, both for educated and uneducated individuals, who are available to start work within the next two weeks and have been actively seeking work in the past four weeks, or had already found a job to start within the next three months. According to Eurostat, Greece was the European country with the highest unemployment rate in 2016, while the Czech Republic ranked as the EU country with the lowest rate. Despite unemployment levels in the European Union falling slightly from a peak in early 2013, they remain relatively high, especially in comparison to how rates were before the worldwide recession started in 2008.


Especially critical is the youth unemployment rate (referring to those younger than 25 years), which reached 18.7 percent in 2016 in the European Union. Analyzing each EU country, Greece again shows the highest youth unemployment rate, followed by Spain and Italy.

Youth unemployment rates differ greatly between men and women. This can easily be seen, for example, in Italy, where the female rate in 2016 peaked at 41.3 percent, while the male rate reached 36.8 percent. Taking sectors of economy into account, the sector with the highest number of unemployed individuals in Spain in 2016 was the service sector. Interestingly, in 2013, 5.6 percent of the labor force that were unemployed in Belgium had a university degree.

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