Introduction – unemployment rates in Europe
According to the recently released data by EUROSTAT, euro area unemployment was 7.4%, down from 7.5% in July 2019, and down from 8.0% from August 2018. That's a piece of good news since this is also the lowest euro area unemployment rate since May 2008.
Let's dive in and comb through the interesting unemployment rates in Europe.
Good results are visible at the EU level, as well. The current EU28 unemployment rate is 6.2%, down from 6.3% in July 2019 and from 6.7% in August 2018. Again, this is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since the start of this particular type of statistics back in January 2000.
Differences among EU member countries
Although the numbers at the general level paint a relatively favorable picture, there are stark differences between different countries. For example, the unemployment rate in Greece is at 17.0% (July 2019), while the lowest unemployment rate is in Czechia at 2.0%.
Compared to the last year, the unemployment rate fell in 24 out of 28 states. It remained the same in one (Luxembourg), and increased in three member states (Denmark, Lithuania, and Sweden).
Substaintial unemployment rate decreases: Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Spain, and Croatia
The countries with the most substantial decreases in unemployment were Greece (from 19.2% to 17.0%), Cyprus (from 8.2% to 6.8%), Bulgaria (from 5.2% to 4.0%), Spain (from 15.0% to 13.8%), and Croatia (from 8.1% to 6.9%).
For comparison, the unemployment rate in the USA was 3.7%. It's the same as the one recorded in July 2019 and slightly down from 3.8% recorded in August 2018.
Youth unemployment still high
Youth unemployment rates are still relatively high, although steadily decreasing. In the EU28, the youth unemployment rate was 14.2% in August 2019 compared to 15.1% in August 2018.
In August 2019, the lowest youth unemployment rate recorded was in Czechia – 5.1%. At the same time the highest rate recorded was in Greece, with 33.0% of youth unemployed in the Q2 2019.
All data used and referenced above is from Eurostat. Seasonally adjusted data, not calendar adjusted data. Unemployment according to ILO definition. Data for Hungary and Estonia from July 2019, data for UK and Greece from June 2019.
Unemployment data for non-EU countries
However, I decided to some more digging and find unemployment data for other European countries. So I was able to collect data for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova. Most data is LFS for Q2 2019, with the exceptions of Belarus (IMF data from December 2018) and Russia (Rosstat data from August 2019).
Bad Balkan numbers – from Kosovo (25.3%) to Serbia (10.3%)
Most Balkan countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia) and Greece are all suffering from high unemployment – ranging from 25.3% in Kosovo to 10.3% in Serbia. The only exception is Bulgaria, a member of the EU and NATO, with the unemployment rate at 4%.
Frequently asked questions about unemployment rates
What is the unemployment rate in European countries?
The current unemployment rates for European countries range from 25.3% for Kosovo and 17.5% for Northern Macedonia to 2.0% for Czechia and 3.1% for Germany.
Which country has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe?
At the moment, Czechia (Czech Republic) has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe – only 2.0%.
Which European countries have the highest unemployment?
Kosovo has the highest unemployment rate in Europe, with 25.3% of people unemployed. North Macedonia follows it with a 17.5% unemployment rate. The EU country with the highest unemployment rate is Greece, with a 17.5% unemployment rate. Greece is also the country with the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone.