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Economy in Brief

Unemployment In Germany And Other Countries In The Euro Area
by Louise Curley   March 1, 2011

Germany reported today that its unemployment rate declined from 7.4% in January to 7.3% in February, the lowest level since December 1991. Harmonized unemployment rates for all the members of the Euro Area and European Union were also published today by Eurostat and reported in the Haver data base, EUDATA. The latest Harmonized data, however, are for January. Germany's "Harmonized" unemployment rate was 6.5% in January, compared with the registered rate of 7.4%. Part of the difference between the two measures is due to the fact that the German measure considers as unemployed those who have recently been hired, but have not yet begun to work and those working 15 hours or less. Although, the two measures differ in magnitude, they tend to move in a similar pattern, as can be seen in the first chart. The February decline in Germany's registered rate of unemployment presages a February decline in its Harmonized unemployment rate.

The favorable trend in the unemployment rate in Germany has, by no means, been typical of the whole Euro Area. The unemployment rate in the Netherlands, which has had the lowest rate of unemployment among the Euro Area countries, has continued to edge lower as has the unemployment rate in France but the rate of unemployment in Italy has tended to increase in recent months as can be seen in the second chart.

In Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain, unemployment rates have been on the rise as a result of the austerity measures undertaken by these countries to address their precarious financial situations. Their unemployment rates are shown in the third chart. Among the newer members of the Euro Area, Estonia has seen a substantial decline in its unemployment rate from 18.0% last June to 14.3% in December, but the current rate is still among the highest in the Area. The unemployment rates in Slovenia and Cyprus have tended to rise but are in the 7.0-7.5% range. The unemployment rate in Slovakia has been relatively steady at 14.5%. These unemployment rates are shown in the fourth chart.

Feb
11
Jan
11
Dec
10
Nov
10
Oct
10
Sep
10
Aug
10
Jul
10
Jun
10
Germany Registered Rate (%) 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.6 7.6 7.7
Harmonized Rates of Unemployment (%)
Germany -- 6.5 6.6 6.6 6.6 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.8
France -- 9.6 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.8
Italy -- 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.7 8.5 8.4 8.4 8.4
Netherlands -- 4.3 4.3 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.5
Ireland -- 12.8 12.8 12.9 13.0 12.9 12.9 12.5 12.3
Greece -- 11.0 11.0 10.2 10.2 10.2 9.7 9.7 9.7
Portugal 10.5 10.5 10.2 10.2 10.1 10.1 10.0 9.9
Spain -- 19.3 19.2 19.1 19.0 19.0 18.9 18.6 18.3
Slovenia -- 7.8 7.7 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.3 7.2 7.4
Slovakia -- 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.4 14.4 14.5
Estonia -- N/A 14.3 14.3 14.3 15.9 15.9 15.9 18.0
Cyprus -- 7.4 7.3 7.2 7.1 7.0 7.0 6.9 7.0
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