Unemployment in the European Union was 10.3 per cent in May 2012, the highest since EU statistics office Eurostat started keeping records in 1995. In the same month, unemployment in the 17-member euro zone was 11.1 per cent.
This means that in the 27-member EU, close to 25 million people are jobless.
According to Eurostat, unemployment in Bulgaria in May 2012 was 12.2 per cent, the same as the previous month. The jobless rate in Bulgaria hit 12 per cent in February 2012 and increased to 12.1 per cent in March, according to Eurostat’s figures.
EU27 unemployment was 10.2 per cent in April 2012 and 9.5 per cent in May 2011.
Eurostat said that it estimates that 24.868 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 17.561 million were in the euro zone, were unemployed in May 2012.
Compared with April 2012, the number of people unemployed increased by 151 000 in the EU27 and by 88 000 in the euro area. Compared with May 2011, unemployment rose by 1.952 million in the EU27 and by 1.820 million in the euro area.
Among the EU member states, unemployment was lowest in Austria (4.1 per cent), the Netherlands (5.1 per cent), Luxembourg (5.4 per cent) and Germany (5.6 per cent), and highest in Spain (24.6 per cent) and Greece (21.9 per cent in March 2012).
Compared with a year ago, unemployment fell in eight EU member states, increased in 18, and remained stable in Hungary.
The largest falls were observed in Estonia (13.6 per cent to 10.9 per cent between the first quarters of 2011 and 2012), Lithuania (15.7 per cent to 13.7 per cent) and Latvia (17.1 per cent to 15.3 per cent between the first quarters of 2011 and 2012).
The highest increases were in Greece (15.7 per cent to 21.9 per cent between March 2011 and March 2012), Spain (20.9 per cent to 24.6 per cent) and Cyprus (7.5 per cent to 10.8 per cent).
Between May 2011 and May 2012, unemployment among men increased from 9.8 per cent to 10.9 per cent in the euro area and from 9.5 per cent to 10.3 per cent in the EU27. Among women, unemployment rose from 10.3 per cent to 11.3 per cent in the euro area and from 9.6 per cent to 10.4 per cent in the EU27.
In May 2012, 5.517 million young people (under 25) were unemployed in the EU27, of whom 3.412 million were in the euro area.
Compared with May 2011, youth unemployment rose by 282 000 in the EU27 and by 254 000 in the euro area. In May 2012, youth unemployment was 22.7 per cent in the EU27 and 22.6 per cent in the euro area.
In May 2011 it was 21 per cent and 20.5 per cent respectively. The lowest rates were observed in Germany (7.9 per cent), Austria (8.3 per cent) and the Netherlands (9.2 per cent), and the highest in Greece (52.1 per cent in March 2012) and Spain (52.1 per cent).
(Illustration: Sergio Roberto Bichara/sxc.hu)