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A couple checks jobs offers on the window of an employment agency in Milan. Luca Bruno/AP/Press Association Images

Almost 25 million people unemployed across European Union

The unemployment rates across the eurozone and the EU27 grew by 0.1 per cent in May.

ABOUT 24.9 MILLION people across the 27 member states of the European Union (EU27) were unemployed during May this year, new figures have revealed.

Of those, 17.6 million were in the eurozone.

Compared with the previous month, the number has jumped by about 151,000 in the EU27 and by 88,000 in the euro area.

The unemployment rates now stand at 11.1 per cent in the eurozone and 10.3 per cent across the EU. When compared with last year, the rates have risen by 1.1 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively with 18 countries experiencing more unemployment.

According to Eurostat, the statistical house of the EU, Ireland’s unemployment level of 14.6 per cent is well above average. However, higher rates have been recorded in Portugal, Latvia, Greece and Spain.

Spain continues to have the highest rate of 24.6 per cent, followed by Greece at 21.9 per cent.

On the other end of the scale, the lowest rates were seen in Austria (4.1 per cent), the Netherlands (5.1 per cent), Luxembourg (5.4 per cent) and Germany (5.6 per cent).

The number of people who are classified as unemployed fell in eight member states. The largest decline was noted in Estonia (13.6 per cent to 10.9 per cent in 12 months).

Youth unemployment remains a problematic area for many nations with over 5.5 million people under the age of 25 out of work in the EU27. Within the eurozone, 3.4 million under-25s do not have paid employment. That figure has risen by more than a quarter of a million in the past year.

In bailout countries Greece and Spain, more than half of those under 25 are not employed. Ireland’s youth unemployment fell 1.4 per cent to 28.5 in May. The situation is worse for young men than their female counterparts, recording a 17.4 per cent rate compared to 11.2 per cent.

The European averages are much greater than the corresponding figures in the US (8.2 per cent) and Japan (4.4 per cent).

Burton: How many people have had benefits cut for not taking up jobs? Almost 900>

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