Euro Area Unemployment December 2020

Euro Area: Unemployment rate stable in December

February 3, 2021

Labor market conditions in the common currency block weakened in December. The number of unemployed people increased by 55,000, while the unemployment rate remained steady at November’s 8.3% in December.

That said, short-time work schemes involving a considerable portion of the labor force across the Eurozone have prevented a jump in the unemployment rate.

Looking at countries with available data, eight economies saw their unemployment rate decrease in December, including Ireland and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, seven countries saw their unemployment rate increasing, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The rest saw a stable unemployment rate.

Disparities in the labor market among core and periphery countries persist. Greece is the economy with the highest unemployment rate (16.7%, data refers to October), followed by Spain (16.2%). At the other end of the spectrum, the Netherlands (3.9%), Malta (4.5%) and Germany (4.6%) have the lowest unemployment rates.

Commenting on the release, Bert Colijn, senior economist at ING, stated:

“Furlough schemes have been extended well into the year for most countries already, providing relief for the H1 outlook, but the question is what impact an increase of bankruptcies will have. For now, the picture looks strong, but increases in unemployment on the back of fading support remains our base case scenario.”

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the unemployment rate to average 9.3% in 2021, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast. For 2022, the panel expects the unemployment rate to average 8.3%.

Author: Massimo Bassetti, Senior Economist

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Euro Area Unemployment Chart

Euro Area Unemployment December 20 20 0

Note: Unemployment, % of active population. Data for Greece refers to April and Estonia refers to May.
Source: Eurostat.

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