The EU and Unemployment

Today Gisela Stuart of Vote Leave said the EU had been "a disaster" for workers, saying unemployment levels across the eurozone were "in the double digits". Vote Leave’s approach to facts and data has been creative to say the least so I thought I would look at the actual figures. First – it is worth noting/remembering that unemployment rates are notoriously hard to interpret. They are meant to reflect the proportion of people who are able and willing to work who cannot find a job. But how do you define/know who is willing and able to work, in this age of freelance and self-employment how do you decide if someone is working, and how long do you have to be looking for a job to count as unable to find a job?

Setting this aside let’s assume reported unemployment rates for different countries are comparable.   Here are the figures for individual countries in the EU from Eurostat, for the Eurozone (EA19), and for the EU as a whole (EU28).

Note that the while the overall unemployment for the Eurozone does creep into double digits (10.2%) the figure for the EU as a whole is well below (8.7%). While the UK does well at 4.9% there are a few other countries that do better (Czech Republic, Germany, Malta and Ireland). With the exception of Croatia, the countries, like the UK, that are in the EU not in the Eurozone have are doing pretty well (Czech Republic 4.1%, Hungary 5.6%, Denmark 6.0%,  Poland 6.3%, Romania 6.4%, Sweden, 6.9%, Bulgaria 7.1%).

Unemployment levels are not in double digits across the Eurozone and it is unreasonable to describe the problems of some countries in the Eurozone as a disaster for the EU.


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