Tuesday, January 31, 2012

European Unemployment - An Intransigent Problem

The Eurozone is suffering mightily from the issues facing its over-leveredged governments, but one tends to forget about the suffering of the individuals involved.  In this posting, I will take a brief look at unemployment in the Eurozone overall and a brief look at the country-by-country data.

First, here is a graph showing the number of unemployed across the euro area:

In December 2011, a new record was broken with 16.469 million euro area residents finding themselves on the wrong side of a job interview.  This is a new high since the inception of the European Community and is up from a record low of 11.431 million achieved in March of 2008, just prior to the Great Recession, resulting in an overall increase of 44.1 percent, hardly what one can term a "recovery".  This also results in a euro area overall unemployment rate of 10.4 percent.

Here is a graph showing the unemployment rate by Member State for December 2011:

You will notice right away that Spain (ES) and Greece (EL) have by far the highest unemployment rates at 22.9 percent and 19.2 percent respectively.  Among the other debt transgressing nations, we find Ireland's unemployment rate at 14.5 percent, Portugal's at 13.6 percent and Italy's at a rather surprising 8.9 percent.   

Youth unemployment is also a growing problem across the euro area, hitting 21.3 percent across the euro countries in December.  Here is a graph showing the entire picture:

Once again, the highest rates were found in Spain (48.7 percent) and Greece (47.2 percent).  Portugal's youth have an unemployment rate of 30.8 percent and Ireland's youth have an unemployment rate of 29 percent.  That certainly has to lead to a sense of hopelessness among young people in those two economies and does not bode well for the future.

Seeing this data makes us all realize how dire the situation is in Europe and how likely it is that the debt situation for several nations will be unresolvable because the economy simply is not growing.  We'd best hold onto our hats, it's going to be a rough ride ahead if these numbers are any indication of what lies in the future!


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