Statistics Explained

Unemployment statistics


Monthly data

Data up to October 2022

Planned article update: 9 January 2023.

Highlights

Euro area unemployment at 6.5 % in October 2022.

EU unemployment at 6.0 % in October 2022.

Unemployment rates, EU and EA, seasonally adjusted, January 2008 - October 2022 - Source: Eurostat (une_rt_m)


This article presents the very latest unemployment figures for the European Union (EU), the Euro area and individual Member States. Additional information about long-term trends can be found in the article Unemployment statistics and beyond.


Full article

Unemployment in the EU and the euro area

Eurostat estimates that 12.953 million men and women in the EU[1], of whom 10.872 million in the euro area (EA)[2], were unemployed in October 2022. Compared with October 2021, unemployment decreased by 1.158 million in the EU and by 1.053 million in the euro area.

Figure 1: Change in the number of unemployed persons (compared to previous month, in thousands), seasonally adjusted, January 2011 - October 2022 - Source: Eurostat (une_rt_m)

In October 2022, the euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 6.5 %, down from 6.6 % in September 2022 and from 7.3 % in October 2021. The EU unemployment rate was 6.0 % in October 2022, down from 6.1 % in September 2022 and down from 6.6 % in October 2021.


Figure 2: Unemployment rates, EU and EA, seasonally adjusted, January 2008 - October 2022(%)
Source: Eurostat (une_rt_m)


Youth unemployment

In October 2022, 2.872 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU, of whom 2.326 million were in the euro area. In October 2022, the youth unemployment rate was 15.1 % in the EU and 15.0 % in the euro area, both down from from 15.2 % in the previous month. Compared with October 2021, youth unemployment increased by 102 thousand in the EU and by 81 thousand in the euro area.

Figure 3: Youth unemployment rates, EU and EA, seasonally adjusted, January 2008 - October 2022 (%)
Source: Eurostat (une_rt_m)

Unemployment by sex

In October 2022, the unemployment rate for women was 6.4 % in the EU, stable compared with September 2022. The unemployment rate for men was 5.7 % in October 2022, down from 5.8 % in the previous month. In the euro area, the unemployment rate for women was 7.0 %, down from 7.1 % in the previous month, and the unemployment rate for men was 6.1 %, down from 6.2 % in the previous month.

Registered unemployment of refugees from Ukraine

After the outbreak of Russian aggression in Ukraine in February 2022, people fleeing the war have been given temporary protection in the EU under the EU Temporary Protection scheme. The rights for beneficiaries of the scheme include access to employment, subject to rules applicable to the profession and to national labour market policies and general conditions of employment.

Eurostat invited EU Member States and EFTA countries to provide data on people fleeing the war in Ukraine with respect to their situation on the labour market. In particular, monthly data were collected on those refugees that are registered as unemployed in the national public employment services.

Since March 2022, different countries were able to provide data on registered unemployed refugees. For March, data are available only from 13 EU Member States and Switzerland. The coverage increased up to 22 EU Member States and Switzerland for August, while for September and October data are not yet available for some of these countries. In general, data are available for border countries with Ukraine and the largest EU Member States, except Italy, although the coverage varies over the months. The data only cover people registered in the national public employment services and not necessarily all people seeking a job at a certain point in time.

Below, an analysis of the currently available data is presented.

Figure 4: Registered Unemployed Refugees from Ukraine per month (in thousands)
Source: Eurostat unpublished data

As shown in Figures 4 and 5 the results are as follows:

• In October 2022, 275 thousand refugees from Ukraine beneficiary of the EU Temporary Protection scheme were registered as unemployed in the 18 countries who provided such data to Eurostat.

• In September 2022, there were 287 thousand refugees registered as unemployed in the 22 countries that delivered data.

• In August 2022, 278 thousand refugees were registered as unemployed, as observed in 23 countries that delivered data.

• Most countries provided not only total numbers but also information on age and sex. Of the registered unemployed refugees from Ukraine in October 2022 for whom information on age and sex was available, 181 thousand were women aged 25 and over, while 60 thousand were men aged 25 and over (see Figure 5). Moreover, 33 thousand men and women under the age of 25 were registered as unemployed in October 2022.


Figure 5: Registered Unemployed Refugees from Ukraine by age and sex (in thousands)
Source: Eurostat unpublished data

Source data for tables and graphs

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

Data sources

These estimates are based on the globally used International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard definition of unemployment, which counts as unemployed people without a job who have been actively seeking work in the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks.

To capture in full the unprecedented labour market situation triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak, the data on unemployment have been complemented by additional indicators, e.g. underemployed part-time workers, persons seeking work but not immediately available and persons available to work but not seeking, released together with LFS data for the second quarter of 2022. LFS data for the third quarter of 2022 will be released on 19 December 2022.

An unemployed person is defined by Eurostat, according to the guidelines of the International Labour Organization, as someone aged 15 to 74 without work during the reference week who is available to start work within the next two weeks and who has actively sought employment at some time during the last four weeks. The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed as a percentage of the labour force.

In addition to the unemployment measures covered here, Eurostat also publishes statistics for persons who fulfil only partially the definition of unemployment. These persons are not included in the official ILO unemployment concept and have a varying degree of attachment to the labour market. The indicators on Labour market slack – annual statistics on unmet needs for employment supplement the unemployment rate to provide a more complete picture of the labour market.

The quarterly LFS results are always used as a benchmark to ensure international comparability. As for most Member States the results from the LFS for a full quarter are available 75 days after the end of the reference period, the most recent figures are usually provisional. For many countries monthly unemployment data are calculated by Eurostat, while several countries actually supply those figures directly from the LFS.

The following LFS data are used in the calculations of the monthly unemployment rates published in this article:

  • For Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden as well as Norway: monthly LFS data up to and including October 2022.
  • For Estonia and Portugal: monthly data (3 month moving average) up to and including September, October and November 2022.
  • For Cyprus: quarterly data up and including Q2 2022.
  • For Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia: quarterly data up and including Q3 2022.

Monthly unemployment and employment series are calculated first at the level of four categories for each Member State (males and females 15-24 years, males and females 25-74 years). These series are then seasonally adjusted and all the national and European aggregates are calculated. Monthly unemployment figures are published by Eurostat as rates (as a percentage of the labour force) or levels (in thousands), by gender and for two age groups (persons aged 15-24, and those aged 25-74). The figures are available as unadjusted, seasonally adjusted and trend series. There are monthly estimates for all EU Member States. Data for the EU aggregate start in 2000 and for the euro area in April 1998; the starting point for individual Member States varies.

Member States may publish other rates such as register-based unemployment rates, or rates based on the national LFS or corresponding surveys. These rates may vary from those published by Eurostat due to a different definition or methodological choices.

The figures on registered unemployment of refugees from Ukraine are purely register-based unemployment data. Countries' definitions may differ.

Context

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.

The International Labour Organization definition of the unemployment rate is the most widely used labour market indicator because of its international comparability and relatively timely availability. Besides the unemployment rate, indicators such as employment and job vacancies also give useful insights into labour market developments.

The time series on unemployment are used by the European Commission, other public institutions, and the media as an economic indicator; banks may use the data for business cycle analysis. Finally, the general public might also be interested in changes in unemployment.

The unemployment rate is considered to be a lagging indicator. When there is an economic downturn, it usually takes several months before the unemployment rate begins to rise. Once the economy starts to pick up again, employers usually remain cautious about hiring new staff and it may take several months before unemployment rates start to fall.

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.

The Europe 2020 strategy put forward by the European Commission sets out a vision of Europe's social market economy for the 21st century. As part of the flagship initiatives, 'An agenda for new skills and jobs' and 'Youth on the move', (youth) unemployment rates will be targeted via by a range of policies, including proposals aimed at education and training institutions, or measures for the creation of a (work) environment conducive to higher activity rates and higher labour productivity. There are also initiatives aimed at improving the entry rate of young people into the labour market.

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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)


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)

Notes

  1. In line with Eurostat's guidelines for disseminating data when the EU is enlarged, aggregate data series in this article refer to the official composition of the EU in the most recent month for which data are available; from February 2020 onwards this is the EU with 27 Member States, EU.
  2. In line with Eurostat's guidelines for disseminating data when the euro area is enlarged, aggregate data series in this article refer to the official composition of the euro area in the most recent month for which data are available; from the reference month of January 2015 onwards this will be the euro area with 19 Member States, EA.