Unemployment continues to grow in the EU, but at a slower pace now

The unemployment rate in the EU has peaked at 10.5% (higher than in 2008 by 3.4 percentage points). But between 2010 and 2012 it grew less, with some countries reporting stable or even declining trends.

VET policies play an important role for social inclusion and employability. This role becomes even more important in the current economic downturn.

Data presented here consider unemployment rates at different points in time. The indicator of change is the difference (expressed in percentage points) between levels of unemployment rates at different points in time. A positive value indicates that the unemployment rate has gone up in the period considered. A negative value indicates that unemployment has decreased.


Key points

In the EU, in the third quarter of 2012, the unemployment rate was 10.5%. This was an increase of 3.4 percentage points compared to third quarter of 2008. Rise of the EU unemployment rate was bigger over the period 2008-10 (2.5 percentage points) than in the period 2010-12 (0.9 percentage points).

In the first part of the crisis (2008-10), except for Germany and Luxembourg, unemployment rates grew in all EU countries. In the period 2010-12, data reveal more mixed trends.

  • In some countries, the unemployment rate decreased over the period 2010-12. This was the case in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (where unemployment dropped by over five percentage points) as well as in Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden (where, however, drops were smaller, ranging between 0.4 and 1 percentage point).
  • In some countries, the unemployment rate was relatively stable over the period 2010-12. This was the case in Czech Republic, Denmark, Malta, Austria, Romania and UK (with positive or negative variations ranging between 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points).
  • In some countries, unemployment continued to grow in the period 2010-12, but growth was smaller than that recorded in the period 2008-10.
      •  This was the case in countries such as Ireland, France, Netherlands and Poland. In these countries, unemployment rates went up, changes ranged between 0.6 and 1 percentage points and they were all lower than those previously reported in the period 2008-10.
      • In the period 2010-12, unemployment rates grew more importantly in Spain (by 5.3 percentage points), Bulgaria and Slovenia (by around two percentage points), but these increases were also smaller than the previous ones (8.5, 5.0 and 3.0 percentage points respectively).
  • In some countries, the unemployment rate continued to grow and growth was bigger than that recorded in the previous period (2008-10). This happened in Greece where the unemployment rate grew by 5.4 percentage points over the period 2008-10 and by additional 12.7 percentage points in the period 2010-12. At lower levels, this also happened in Cyprus (which suffered consecutive increases by 2.6 and 6.2 percentage points respectively), Italy (1.5 and 2.3) and Portugal (3.5 and 4.0).

Unemployment only went down in Germany in both periods.