The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the 17-nation eurozone was 12.0% in December, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The rate has been stable since October, and it is barely changed from the 11.9% in December 2012. This is yet another sign that Europe has barely recovered from recession.
In the wider, 28-nation euro area, the unemployment rate was 10.7% in December. That compares with a 10.8% rate in the previous month, as well as 10.8% in December of 2012.
That is a marked contrast from the improvement in unemployment in the United States, where in December the unemployment rate was 6.7%. That was down from 7.0% in November and from 7.9% in December of the previous year.
In Germany, which in many ways is the economic keystone of Europe, the unemployment rate in December was just 5.1%. But in troubled nations like Greece and Spain, it is a different world. The most recent unemployment figures for those two nations were 27.8% (October) and 25.8% (December), respectively.
The problem is even worse with youth unemployment, where the rates were 59.2% in October for Greece and 54.3% in December for Spain. The youth unemployment rate for the 28-nation euro area was 23.2%. Europe still faces a lost generation of citizens unable to fully participate in their respective economies, and it doesn’t appear that it is likely to change soon.