The number of unemployed in the EU has continued to increase in April 2012, reaching a new high of 24.7 million.
Although the pace of increase of EU unemployment has eased over the last three months, the trend remains upward in majority of the Member States.
While stable at EU level at 22.4%, youth unemployment has worsened again in 15 Member States. Only three countries - Germany, Netherlands and Austria - post youth unemployment rate lower than 10 %, whereas twelve countries (including e.g. Ireland, Greece, Spain, Poland and Italy) recorded a rate higher than 25 %.
Consumers' expectations have improved slightly at EU level, but in two-thirds of Member States, they expect unemployment to go on worsening. EU firms’ employment expectations have deteriorated overall, though they remain rather optimistic in industry and more pessimistic in services and construction.
For the third month in a row, the agency work industry in Europe posted negative growth in March, down by 3.3 % compared with the same period in 2011. In May, nearly 20 000 restructuring-related announced job losses were reported by the European Restructuring Monitor, against less than 8 000 job gains. Manufacturing was the most affected sector by announced job losses.
Overall, the unemployment figures confirm that unacceptable numbers of people are out of work. The Commission underlined the urgency for Member States to take concrete measures to boost employment in the Recommendations presented to Member States at the end of May.