(CN) – Unemployment in Europe has remained at 9.5 percent over the past year, with no improvement forecast for at least the next two years, a new European Union analysis shows.
Since the recession began in 2008, six million jobs were lost, largely in midlevel manufacturing and construction, according to a review by the employment directorate of the European Commission. This far outstrips the 1.5 million jobs gained over the past two years. Only the high-income sector has seen growth during this time.
Unemployment ranges widely across European Union countries. Austria has the lowest, at 3.9 percent. Budget-crisis country Spain is in particularly dire straits – it has the highest general unemployment, at 22.6 percent.
Youth have also been hit especially hard, the review found: one-fifth of working people younger than 25 lack a job. In Spain, nearly half the young population is unemployed.
With 22.6 million people in the EU looking for work, many more times that number are at risk of poverty, the report noted. Up one million from last year, 115 million Europeans are vulnerable to becoming needy. The elderly, single parents and children are overrepresented in this segment.
The review also examined the societal impacts of unemployment, particularly short-term unemployment that is becoming long-term unemployment. The report highlighted the risk of societal exclusion and emphasized the need for better knowledge of such people.
Through policy initiatives and monitoring, the EU has pledged to reduce the number of people at risk for poverty by 20 million by 2020.