Unemployment in Bulgaria was 13.1 per cent in March 2014, unchanged from February and slightly higher than the 13 per cent recorded in March 2013, according to European Union statistics office Eurostat.
This means that about 443 000 Bulgarians were jobless in March this year.
Unemployment across the 28-member EU was the same in March 2014 as in February, at 10.5 per cent, dropping slightly from 10.6 per cent in January 2014 and improving from the 10.9 per cent recorded in March 2013.
Youth unemployment in Bulgaria in March 2014 was 28.3 per cent, the same figure as in January and February 2014, and a year earlier, in March 2013. In March this year, 60 000 Bulgarian under-25s were unemployed, going by Eurostat’s figures.
Year-on-year, while the rate of youth unemployment in Bulgaria remained unchanged, the rate in the EU dropped from 23.5 per cent in March 2013 to 22.8 per cent in March 2014.
Figures from Bulgaria’s employment agency produce a slightly different result, of unemployment at 12.2 per cent in March 2014, unchanged for three months. However, the number of unemployed was 10 335 higher than in March 2013.
Going by employment agency figures, unemployment was highest in the Vidin district, at about 25 per cent, and lowest in Sofia, at about 3.4 per cent.
Eurostat figures released on May 2 showed that the euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.8 per cent in March 2014, stable since December 2013, but down from 12 per cent in March 2013.
Eurostat estimated that 25.699 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 18.913 million were in the euro zone countries, were unemployed in March 2014.
Compared with February 2014, the number of unemployed people decreased by 66 000 in the EU28 and by 22 000 in the euro area.
Compared with March 2013, unemployment decreased by 929 000 in the EU28 and by 316 000 in the euro area.
Among EU member countries, the lowest unemployment rates were in Austria (4.9 per cent), Germany (5.1 per cent) and Luxembourg (6.1 per cent), and the highest in Greece (26.7 per cent in January 2014) and Spain (25.3 per cent).
Compared with a year ago, unemployment increased in 10 EU countries, remained stable in three and fell in 15.
The highest increases were in Cyprus (14.8 per cent to 17.4 per cent), the Netherlands (6.4 per cent to 7.2 per cent), Italy (12 per cent to 12.7 per cent) and Croatia (16.6 per cent to 17.3 per cent), and the largest decreases in Hungary (11.2 per cent to 7.9 per cent between February 2013 and February 2014), Latvia (13.9 per cent to 11.6 per cent between the fourth quarters of 2012 and 2013), Portugal (17.4 per cent to 15.2 per cent) and Ireland (13.7 per cent to 11.8 per cent).
In March 2014, 5.340 million young people (under 25) were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 3.426 million were in the euro area.
Compared with March 2013, youth unemployment decreased by 322 000 in the EU28 and by 166 000 in the euro area.
In March 2014, youth unemployment was 22.8 per cent in the EU28 and 23.7 per cent in the euro area, compared with 23.5 per cent and 24 per cent respectively in March 2013.
In March 2014, the lowest rates of youth unemployment were in Germany (7.8 per cent), Austria (9.5 per cent) and the Netherlands (11.3 per cent), and the highest in Greece (56.8 per cent in January 2014), Spain (53.9 per cent) and Croatia (49 per cent in the first quarter of 2014).
(Illustration: Sergio Roberto Bichara/sxc.hu)