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EU unemployment remains at 14-year low

Unemployment across the European Union spiked in the pandemic, but has been gradually falling over the last two years.

(CN) — Average unemployment across the European Union remained at a 14-year low of 6% in November, according to data released by Eurostat on Monday.

Prior to this year, the EU's jobless rate hadn’t been this low since before 2013, when the continent's unemployment neared 12%.

An estimated 12.9 million people in the EU were without jobs in October and November, a 0.5% decrease compared to the year prior. About 448 million people live across the EU’s 4 million square kilometers.

The EU reported roughly 26.4 million open jobs, representing 12% labor market slack. Just 2.5% of the workforce claimed to be underemployed part-timers unable to find more work.

Czechia reported the lowest unemployment rate as of November, with just 2.7% of people out of work — a slight uptick from 2.2% in 2021. Germany, Malta, Netherlands, Poland and Norway all reported unemployment rates below 4%.

At 12.4% and 11.5%, Spain and Greece reported the only double-digit unemployment rates in the EU, both slight improvements from the year prior when 13.4% of people were out of work in Spain, and 13.1% were unemployed in Greece.

By comparison, U.S. unemployment came in at 3.7% in the fall, down from 4.2% in November 2021.

Roughly one in five unemployed persons in the EU are under the age of 25. As the EU generally reported improvements in unemployment last year, youth jobless rates climbed to 15%. That adds up to 180,000 young people without work.

Youth unemployment only reflects joblessness among youth in the workforce, not among all people in the age group, many of whom are students.

Women reported slightly higher rates of unemployment compared to men, with 6.4% of women out of work and 5.7% of men.

Nearly three-quarters of people in the EU reported being employed.

Using the International Labor Organization’s guidelines, Eurostat defined unemployment as jobless people who have been actively looking for work over the last month and able to start working again within two weeks.

Unemployment is one of several indicators used by the EU to evaluate economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In November inflation hit 10.1%, driven by high costs of energy. Retail trade increased slightly, 0.8%, while industrial produce prices ticked down slightly, 0.9% across the EU.

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