Europe’s joblessness rate increases for fifth consecutive month in August

While the unemployment rate in the eurozone reached 8.1% in August, it rose to 7.4% for the bloc as a whole, according to Eurostat. In a year marked by the COVID-19 health crisis, unemployment in the EU and the eurozone has been rising for the fifth consecutive month.

On 1 September, the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat, reported that unemployment in July stood at 7.9% in the 19 eurozone countries and 7.2% in the EU as a whole.

But on Thursday (1 October), the EU body corrected both figures for the month of August.

While impacting all parts of the economy, COVID-19 has hit young people particularly hard. Nicolas Schmit, the Commissioner for jobs and social rights, spoke about the EU executive’s efforts to address these challenges and avert the prospect of another ‘lost generation.’

August figures show that the unemployment rate for the eurozone increased to 8.1%, while the figure for the EU as a whole went up to 7.4%. This was the fifth month in a row of rising unemployment for the European Union and the eurozone, the European statistics office pointed out.

In August, 15.6 million men and women were unemployed in the EU, of whom 13.2 million in the eurozone, Eurostat added. Compared to July, there were 238,000 more unemployed people in the EU27 and 251,000 in the common currency area.

Unemployment in Europe could nearly double in the coming months, with up to 59 million jobs at risk from permanent cutbacks as well as reductions in pay and hours because of the coronavirus pandemic, estimates from consultancy McKinsey said.

The countries with the largest increases in unemployment in August (compared with July) were Lithuania, which went from 9% to 9.6%, and Cyprus, where joblessness rose from 6.9% to 7.4%. In addition, France saw its unemployment rate go from 7.1% to 7.5% and Spain from 15.9% to 16.2%.

Year-on-year, the main increases were recorded in Lithuania (from 6.6% to 9.6%), Latvia (from 6.2% to 8.8%), Bulgaria (from 3.9% to 6.2%), Sweden (from 6.9% to 9.2%) and Spain (14.3% to 16.2%).

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