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EU Unemployment Comparison


Summary: UK unemployment figures released today show another drop in the unemployment rate for the quarter September-November 2012. We compare that with the latest unemployment figures from across the EU.



What does the chart show? The chart shows the unemployment rate (in percent) for each of the 27 EU countries. The red bar shows the latest available monthly figure (November 2012 for most of them; October for Estonia and Hungary, September for Greece and the UK, and Q3 2012 for Latvia). The blue bar shows the figure for the same period a year ago. Eurostat defines the unemployment rate as the percentage of the population aged between 15-74 (16-74 for Spain, Italy and the UK) who are currently looking for work but unable to find any.


Why is the chart interesting?  The UK is one of only seven countries in the EU to be experiencing an annual decline in the unemployment rate. The vast majority of countries have rising unemployment rates (some dramatically, such as Greece, Spain and Cyprus). Although this should be taken as positive, it is worth considering how long this improvement can last while there is little to no growth to back it up.


The ERC Chart of the Week is updated every Wednesday.