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Eurozone jobless rate continues to fall

Although unemployment remains high in some countries, about 1.5 million Europeans have returned to the workforce over the past year.

(CN) — Unemployment in the 19-nation eurozone still exceeds that of the larger European Union, but the rate fell slightly in July to 6.6%, according to data released Thursday by the EU's statistics agency.

Notably, it’s a reduction of a whole percentage point from the same time in 2021 and represents some 1.5 million employees that have returned to the workforce in the past year.

The unemployment rate in the 27-nation EU has similarly decreased, from 6.9% in July 2021 to 6% one year later, according to the Eurostat report. Meanwhile, long-term data indicates both the EU and the eurozone, also known as the euro area, have some of the strongest employment numbers in nearly 15 years. Unemployment peaked above 11.5% in 2013, but steadily declined each year thereafter until a spike during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The unemployment rate is higher for workers under the age of 25. Some 2.6 million young workers are unemployed in the EU, representing a rate of 14%. Yet 329,000 young workers returned to the workforce over the past year, 244,000 of which were in the eurozone, comprised of the 19 member states that have adopted the euro as their sole legal tender. 

By sex, women are experiencing a slightly higher unemployment rate than their male counterparts. Eurostat reports 6.4% of women in the EU are unemployed, compared to 5.7% of men, rates that were unchanged from June.

The unemployed are defined as people without a job “who have been actively seeking work in the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks,” according to the report.

Geographically, Spain is experiencing the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone at 12.6% in July 2022. At 11.4%, Greece is the only other country with a double-digit rate. The next highest rate is in Cyprus, with a flat 8%. 

On the other hand, the Czech Republic is enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in the eurozone with 2.3%. Within a single percentage point behind are Poland (2.6%) Germany and Malta (2.9%), and Norway (3.1%).

Comparatively, the United States reported an unemployment rate of 3.5% in July.  

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