EU reports wide disparities in unemployment across bloc

Luxembourg – Regional unemployment varied greatly across the European Union in 2018, ranging from negligible levels to about one third of the labour force, the EU statistics agency Eurostat reported on Monday.

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Germany and the Czech Republic topped the overall list of regions with extremely low unemployment, with rates between 1 and 2 per cent.

But 30 regions posted a rate of at least 13.8 per cent, double that of the EU average: 12 of them in Greece, eight in Spain and five each in France and Italy.

Prague recorded the lowest rate, at 1.3 per cent, while the region of Mayotte, a French overseas department, had the highest, at 35.1 per cent.

Diverse rates across the EU

Overall, Eurostat noted, the trend was one of dropping joblessness. More than 80 per cent of regions saw their unemployment rate fall, with around 60 per cent seeing a drop of at least 0.5 percentage points.

But youth unemployment and long-term joblessness persist in certain struggling regions. The EU average for young workers, defined as aged 15 to 24, was 15.2 per cent. But more than 80 per cent of regions posted rates that were twice that of overall unemployment.

In addition, more than four in 10 unemployed in the EU have been without work for more than a year, Eurostat reported, a problem that is especially acute in Greece.

Unemployment in the EU in 2018