Contrasting with a slower growth over the summer, the number of unemployed people in the EU rose sharply again in September, hitting a new high of 25.75 million, the latest monthly labour market analysis of the European Commission says. Since March 2011, it has risen for 18 months in a row, up by 3.1 million.
Over the year to September 2012, the EU average unemployment rate rose by 0.8 percentage point (pp) to 10.6 %, equally affecting women and men, and essentially driven by the Euro area (+1.3 pps to 11.6 %).
20 Member States recorded rises in unemployment rates, while only seven saw decreases. Divergence across Member States is at its highest level. In September the gap between the lowest (Austria, with 4.4 %) and the highest (Spain, with 25.8 %) unemployment rates reached 21.4 pps, an all-time record.
The youth unemployment rate rose again in September to a new high of 22.8 %, with 5.52 million unemployed. In Greece and Spain, more than one young active out of two is jobless. Three other Member States have seen youth unemployment rates above 30 % Italy, Portugal, and Ireland, but only three below 10 % Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.
Hiring activity remains depressed overall and restructuring sees persistent net job losses. In this context, the outlook for the coming months is bleak. Since June 2012, pessimism has gained new ground among EU consumers about future unemployment developments, while employers in all major sectors expect employment to decline in the coming months. According to latest Commission economic forecasts, unemployment is expected to peak just below 11 % in the EU in 2013.