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The number of Europeans still looking for work in the EU-27 has returned to the peak recorded since the start of the crisis.
Europe's unemployment rate edged up to 9.7 % in September 2011, or by 0.1 pp. This is 0.3 pp up on March 2011 and is the same level as the peak recorded in the first half of 2010. Unemployment in the euro area also increased by the same proportion, hitting 10.2%.
The overall number of jobless has been growing since February 2011 by 585,000, reaching 23.3 million in September - only 75,000 short of the peak recorded in April 2010. The improvement seen in the months up to March 2011 has been progressively offset by the more recent rise in unemployment.
Although Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Hungary and Ireland have seen unemployment fall slightly, many Member States have seen the number of job-seekers grow further. Even countries recording lower-than-average unemployment rates are now posting rises. This includes Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia. Most of the countries recording already high unemployment rates have seen these grow even further, such as Spain, Bulgaria, Portugal, Slovakia and Greece.
Youth unemployment remains a key concern in the EU and has been growing again since February 2011 up by 98,000 overall to reach 5.3 million in September 2011, at a rate of 21.4%. This is an increase of 0.2 pp on the previous month and up 0.5 pp on September 2010. This rate equals the peak level recorded in February 2010.
In the current economic context, most European consumers expect unemployment to rise in the next month, while employers believe that employment will shrink in the tertiary sector and in construction.
On the brighter side, hiring activity remains positive with online labour demand i.e. employer online recruitment activity – continuing to grow, but at a slower pace, while growth in the agency work sector has slowed down further.
At the same time, restructuring activity increased in October, with a negative impact on jobs. The outlook remains uncertain, with a greater risk of deterioration than improvement.