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Economy in Brief

Unemployment Rates in the European Union: Developed Vs. Emerging Countries
by Louise Curley July 3, 2007

The unemployment rates for both the twenty-seven countries in the Euro Union and the thirteen countries in the subdivision--the Euro Area--declined to 7.0% in May from 7.1% in April. These rates are shown in the first chart.

The concepts of the Euro Area and the European Union are useful for institutional purposes, but, from an economic standpoint, a better breakdown of the twenty-seven countries of the EU would be between developed and emerging economies. Thus, the non Euro Area countries, Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom have more in common with the developed countries of the Euro Area countries and Slovenia of the Euro Area has more in common with the eleven emerging countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia.

Among the developed countries unemployment rates currently vary from 3.2% in the Netherlands to 8.7% in France., both of which are Euro Area countries. Unemployment rates in Denmark, a non euro area country, have fallen within this range and have in recent years followed closely the same path at the unemployment rate in the Netherlands, as can be see in the second chart.

Among the emerging countries of the European Union, unemployment rates currently range from 4.2% in Cyprus to 10.8% in Slovakia. Unemployment rates in the emerging Slovenia, which is in the Euro Area, have tended to be near the lower limit of this range, as can be seen in the third chart.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATES  (%) May 07 Apr 07  May 06  M/M Dif  Y/Y Dif 2006 2005 2004
European Union 27 7.0 7.1 8.0 -0.1 -1.0 7.9 8.6 8.8
Euro Area 13 7.0 7.1 7.9 -0.1 -0.9 7.9 8.3 9.0
Developed Countries
  Highest:  France 8.7 8.8 9.6 -0.1 -0.9 9.5 9.7 9.6
  Lowest:  The Netherlands 3.2 3.3 3.9 -0.1 -0.7 3.9 4.7 4.6
  Denmark 3.3 3.3 4.2 0.0 -0.9 3.9 4.8 5.5
Emerging Countries
  Highest:  Slovakia 10.8 10.8 13.6 0.0 -2.8 13.3 16.3 18.2
  Lowest:  Cyprus 4.2 4.2 4.7. 0.0 -0.5 4.6 5.2 4.6
  Slovenia 5.1 5.2 6.2 -0.1 -1.1 6.0 6.5 6.3
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