Unemployment statistics at regional level

Data extracted in April 2019.

Next article update: April 2020.

Unemployment rates in the EU regions ranged from 1.3 % to 35.1 % in 2018.
In more than a fifth of EU regions, the majority of the unemployed had been out of work for at least a year in 2018.
Unemployment rate, 2018
Source: Eurostat

This article provides an overview of regional unemployment rates across the 281 NUTS-2 regions of the European Union (EU) in 2018, compiled by Eurostat on the basis of data from the EU Labour force survey.

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Regional unemployment rates and the EU average

More than 80 % of the NUTS 2 regions of the European Union (EU) saw their unemployment rate for persons aged 15-74 fall in 2018 compared with 2017. Around 60 % recorded a decrease of at least 0.5 percentage points. However, regional unemployment rates continued to vary widely across the EU regions, with the lowest rates recorded in two Czech regions Prague (1.3 %) and South-West (1.5 %), and Mittelfranken (1.8 %) in Germany, followed by two further German regions, Tübingen and Oberpfalz as well as Cumbria in the United Kingdom (all 1.9 %). At the opposite end of the scale, the highest unemployment rates were registered in Mayotte (35.1 %), an overseas region of France, the Spanish autonomous city of Ceuta (29.0 %), West Macedonia (27.0 %) in Greece, the Spanish autonomous city Melilla (25.8 %), Réunion (24.3 %), another overseas region of France and Western Greece (24.1 %) in Greece.

Over a quarter of EU regions with an unemployment rate half or less of the EU average

Among the 280 EU regions for which data are available, 71 had an unemployment rate of less than 3.5 % in 2018, half the average of the EU (6.9 %). They included twenty regions in Germany, fifteen in the United Kingdom, nine in Poland, seven in Czechia, five in Hungary, four each in the Netherlands and Austria, two in Belgium and Romania and one each in Bulgaria, Italy and Slovakia. In contrast, 30 regions had a rate of at least 13.8 %, double that of the EU: twelve regions in Greece, eight in Spain and five each in France and Italy.

Figure 1: Regional unemployment in EU Member States, in 2018, %
Source: Eurostat

Regional variations in youth unemployment

Youth unemployment rates varied from 4 % in Upper Bavaria to over 66 % in Melilla

In 2018, the average unemployment rate for young people aged between 15 and 24 in the EU was 15.2 %. However, there are marked regional differences in the unemployment rates for young people. The lowest rates were in Upper Bavaria (4.0 %) in Germany and South-West (4.1 %) in Czechia, followed by two German regions Stuttgart and Weser-Ems (both 4.3 %) as well as Central Bohemia (5.0 %) in Czechia, and the highest were in the Spanish regions Melilla (66.1 %) and Ceuta (62.4 %), West Macedonia (62.0 %) in Greece and Mayotte (61.1 %), an overseas region of France. In more than 80 % of the EU regions, the unemployment rate for young people was at least twice that of total unemployment in the same region.

Table 1: Regions with lowest and highest youth unemployment rates in 2018, %
Source: Eurostat

Long term unemployment in the EU regions

In more than a fifth 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 43.2 % on average in the EU in 2018. In the EU regions, the lowest shares of long-term unemployed were recorded in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area (12.1 %) in the United Kingdom, Śląskie in Poland and Upper Norrland in Sweden (both 12.5 %). On the other hand, more than three-quarters of the unemployed had been out of work for at least a year in the French overseas region Mayotte (81.8 %), Epirus (77.2 %) in Greece, North-West (76.8 %) in Bulgaria and Attica (76.0 %) in Greece.

Table 2: Regions with lowest and highest long-term unemployment shares in 2018, %
Source: Eurostat

Data sources

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 2016) as set out in the amending Commission Regulation (EU) No 2016/2066 of 21 November 2016. NUTS 2016 (valid from 1 January 2018) provides a uniform, consistent breakdown of territorial units for the production of regional statistics for the EU.

Level 2 of the nomenclature has 281 regions: Belgium (11), Bulgaria (6), Czechia (8), Denmark (5), Germany (38), Ireland (3), Greece (13), Spain (19), France (27), Croatia (2), Italy (21), Lithuania (2), Hungary (8), the Netherlands (12), Austria (9), Poland (17), Portugal (7), Romania (8), Slovenia (2), Slovakia (4), Finland (5), Sweden (8) and the United Kingdom (41). Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, 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), Serbia (8) and Turkey (26), while Iceland, Montenegro and North Macedonia are considered as single regions at level 2.

In the text of this article, the names of the regions are in English, while the tables in the annex list regions in the national language as set out in the NUTS.

The detailed tables Microsoft Excel 2010 Logo.png are available here.


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.

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Unemployment rates of the population aged 25-64 by level of education (tps00066)

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LFS series - Detailed annual survey results (lfsa)
Total unemployment - LFS series (lfsa_unemp)

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