Unemployment statistics at regional level
- Data extracted in April 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Next article update: April 2017.
This article provides an overview of regional unemployment rates across the 276 NUTS-2 regions of the European Union (EU) in 2015, compiled by Eurostat on the basis of data from the EU Labour force survey.
More than 60 % of the NUTS-2 regions of the European Union (EU) recorded a decrease of at least 0.5 percentage points in their regional unemployment rate in 2015 compared with 2014. However, regional unemployment rates continued to vary widely across the EU regions, with the lowest rates recorded in the German regions of Freiburg and Niederbayern (both 2.5%), Oberbayern and Oberpfalz (both 2.7 %), followed by Praha in the Czech Republic (2.8 %). At the opposite end of the scale, the highest unemployment rates were registered in Melilla (34.0 %) and Andalucía (31.5 %) in Spain, Dytiki Makedonia (30.7 %) in Greece, Canarias and Extremadura (both 29.1 %) in Spain.
Main statistical findings
Regional unemployment rates ranged from from 2.5 % to 34.0 % in the EU regions
Regional unemployment rates varied widely across the 276 NUTS-2 regions of the EU-28 in 2015, with the lowest rates recorded in the German regions of Freiburg and Niederbayern (both 2.5 %), Oberbayern and Oberpfalz (both 2.7 %), followed by Praha in the Czech Republic (2.8 %), while the highest rates were registered were registered in Melilla (34.0 %) and Andalucía (31.5 %) in Spain, Dytiki Makedonia (30.7 %) in Greece, Canarias and Extremadura (both 29.1 %) in Spain.
Among the 274 EU regions for which data are available, 60 had an unemployment rate of 4.7 % or less in 2015, half the average of the EU (9.4 %). They included twenty-four regions in Germany, twenty-one in the United Kingdom, five in Austria, three in the Czech Republic, two each in Belgium, Hungary and Romania and one in Italy. In contrast, 29 regions had a rate of at least 18.8 %, double that of the EU: eleven regions in Greece, ten in Spain and four each in France (all overseas departments) and Italy.
Unemployment rates for young people varied from less than 4 % in Oberbayern to almost 80 % in Ceuta
In 2015, the average unemployment rate for young people aged between 15 and 24 in the EU-28 was 20.4 %. Regional differences in the unemployment rate for young people are however very marked.
In the EU-28 in 2015, the lowest rates for young people were recorded in German regions, in particular Oberbayern (3.4 %), Freiburg (4.7 %), Mittelfranken (5.2 %), Weser-Ems (5.7 %) and Karlsruhe (5.8 %), and the highest in Ceuta (79.2 %) and Melilla (72.0 %) in Spain. In more than three-quarters of the EU regions, the unemployment rate for young people was at least twice that of total unemployment.
In around 30 % of regions, the majority of the unemployed had been out of work for at least a year
The long-term unemployment share, which is defined as the percentage of unemployed persons who have been unemployed for 12 months or more, stood at 48.3 % on average in the EU-28 in 2015, and varied significantly across the regions.
In the EU-28 in 2015, the lowest shares of long-term unemployed were recorded in Bucuresti - Ilfov (13.9 %) in Romania and Hampshire & Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom (15.0 %), followed by six Swedish regions. On the other hand, more than three-quarters of the unemployed had been out of work for at least a year in four Greek regions: Peloponnisos (77.1 %), Attiki (76.7 %), Sterea Ellada (76.4 %) and Dytiki Ellada (76.3 %).
Data sources and availability
These data on regional unemployment, compiled on the basis of the EU Labour force survey, are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
The data are based on the Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS 2013) as set out in Commission Regulation (EU) No 1319/2013 of 9 December 2013. NUTS 2013 provides a uniform, consistent breakdown of territorial units for the production of regional statistics for the EU.
Level 2 of the nomenclature has 276 regions: Belgium (11), Bulgaria (6), the Czech Republic (8), Denmark (5), Germany (38), Ireland (2), Greece (13), Spain (19), France (27), Croatia (2), Italy (21), Hungary (7), the Netherlands (12), Austria (9), Poland (16), Portugal (7), Romania (8), Slovenia (2), Slovakia (4), Finland (5), Sweden (8) and the United Kingdom (40). Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta are all considered as single regions at NUTS 2 level.
The statistical regions in the candidate and EFTA countries follow the principles of the NUTS classification; however there is no legal base: Norway (7), Switzerland (7), and Turkey (26), while Iceland and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are considered as single regions at Level 2.
The unemployment rate is an important indicator with both social and economic dimensions. Rising unemployment results in a loss of income for individuals, increased pressure with respect to government spending on social benefits and a reduction in tax revenue. From an economic perspective, unemployment may be viewed as unused labour capacity.
Male, youth and long-term unemployment appear to be more susceptible to cyclical economic changes than overall unemployment. Indeed, social policymakers often face the challenge of remedying these situations by designing ways to increase employment opportunities for various groups of society, those working in particular economic activities, or those living in specific regions.
- Labour cost at regional level
- Labour markets at regional level
- Unemployment statistics and beyond
- Unemployment statistics
Further Eurostat information
- The "My region" app gives mobile access to a selection of annual regional indicators. Available for iPhone and Android.
- Regional Statistics Illustrated - select statistical domain 'Labour market' (top right)
- Regions, see:
- Regional labour market statistics (t_reg_lmk)
- LFS main indicators (t_lfsi)
- Unemployment - LFS adjusted series (t_une)
- LFS series - detailed annual survey results (t_lfsa)
- Unemployment rates of the population aged 25-64 by level of education (tps00066)
- Regions, see:
- Regional labour market statistics (reg_lmk)
- LFS main indicators (lfsi)
- Unemployment - LFS adjusted series (une)
- LFS series - detailed quarterly survey results (from 1998)
- Total unemployment - LFS series (lfsq_unemp)
- LFS series - Detailed annual survey results (lfsa)
- Total unemployment - LFS series (lfsa_unemp)
Methodology / Metadata
- Labour force survey (LFS) – Main concepts
- Labour force survey in the EU, candidate and EFTA countries - Main characteristics of national surveys, 2009
- Regional labour market statistics (ESMS metadata file - reg_lmk_esms)
- Unemployment - LFS-adjusted series (ESMS metadata file - une_esms)
- Council Decision 2010/707/EU of 21 October 2010 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States