Unemployment rate inches down in February
Conditions in the labor market of the common currency bloc improved in February, according to data by Eurostat. The number of unemployed fell by 141,000 and the unemployment rate came in at 8.5% in February, down from January’s 8.6%. The unemployment rate rests at the lowest result since December 2008.
Looking at the countries in the region with data available, several of the economies saw improvements in their labor markets, including Cyprus, France, Italy and Spain. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was unchanged in Germany and Lithuania. Belgium and Luxembourg were the only countries to see their unemployment rates rise in February.
Despite gains over the past years, notable divergences continue to persist in the labor market among core Eurozone countries and those on the periphery. Greece is the economy in the Eurozone with by far the highest unemployment rate (20.8%, data refer to December), followed by Spain (16.1%). At the other end of the spectrum, Germany (3.5%) and Malta (3.5%) have the lowest unemployment rates. In addition, youth unemployment remains particularly pronounced in the periphery and came in at 45.0% in Greece (data refers to December), 35.5% in Spain and 32.8% in Italy.