Unemployment statistics at regional level
Data extracted in April 2018.
Next article update: April 2019.
This article provides an overview of regional unemployment rates across the 276 NUTS-2 regions of the European Union (EU) in 2017, compiled by Eurostat on the basis of data from the EU Labour force survey.
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 2017 compared with 2016, and 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 Praha (1.7 %) in the Czech Republic and Trier (2.0 %) in Germany, followed by the Czech regions of Střední Čechy and Jihozápad and the German regions of Niederbayern and Mittelfranken (all 2.1 %). At the opposite end of the scale, the highest unemployment rates were registered in Dytiki Makedonia (29.1 %) in Greece, Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (27.6 %) in Spain, Dytiki Ellada in Greece and Extremadura in Spain (both 26.3 %), Mayotte (25.9 %), an overseas region of France and Andalucía (25.5 %) in Spain.
Around 20 % of EU regions with an unemployment rate half or less of the EU average
Among the 275 EU regions for which data are available, 56 had an unemployment rate of 3.8 % or less in 2017, half the average of the EU (7.6 %). They included twenty-one regions in Germany, thirteen in the United Kingdom, seven in the Czech Republic, three each in Hungary and Austria, two each in Belgium, Poland and Romania and one each in Bulgaria, Italy and the Netherlands. In contrast, 31 regions had a rate of at least 15.2 %, double that of the EU: all thirteen regions in Greece, nine in Spain, five in France and four in Italy.
Regional variations in youth unemployment
Youth unemployment rates varied from around 4 % in Praha and Oberbayern to almost 63 % in Melilla
In 2017, the average unemployment rate for young people aged between 15 and 24 in the EU was 16.8 %. Regional differences in the unemployment rate for young people are however marked. The lowest rates were in Praha in the Czech Republic and Oberbayern in Germany (both 3.8 %), followed by German regions Weser-Ems (4.6 %) and Stuttgart (4.7 %) as well as Zeeland (5.0 %) in the Netherlands, and the highest in Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (62.7 %) in Spain and Voreio Aigaio (58.2 %) in Greece. In more than three-quarters of the EU regions, the unemployment rate for young people was at least twice that of total unemployment.
Long term unemployment in the EU regions
In more than 20 % 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 45.0 % on average in the EU in 2017. In the EU regions, the lowest shares of long-term unemployed were recorded in Övre Norrland (12.8 %) in Sweden, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire (13.2 %) in the United Kingdom and Bucuresti – Ilfov (13.8 %) in Romania. 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 (83.8 %) and in two Greek regions – Attiki (77.3 %) and Thessalia (77.2 %).
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 detailed tables 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.
- Unemployment rates in the EU regions ranged from 1.7 % to 29.1 % (News release 73/2018)
- 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)
- 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