New Statistics Show Full Picture of Unemployment in Europe

By: Daniel Steingold | May 31, 2016

It is commonly known and understood that unemployment in Europe is a problem. While beleaguered countries suffer more— in Greece, unemployment has reached 24 percent, while Spain experiences over a 20 percent clip— richer nations such as Italy and France, are also mired in double-digit unemployment rates.

As has been highlighted in previous posts, however, unemployment figures don’t reveal the full picture. Eurostat, a governmental statistics body, recently came out with data that shows how in addition to the eurozone experiencing over 10 percent unemployment, there are also a number of workers who are underemployed or have given up on finding work.

Underemployment is an even bigger issue for those in struggling countries; statistics show that 72 percent of Greek part-time workers desire more hours, while 54 percent of Spaniards also want the same.

Those who have given up on finding work, known as “discouraged workers,” make up a significant percentage of the workforce in certain countries— they are said to comprise 14 percent of the workforce in Italy. Throughout Europe, there are said to be over 9 million individuals who have just stopped looking for employment.

Another issue for the economy in Europe is the seeming trend for unemployment rates to elevate to unsustainable rates, and then stay there. France, for example, has been at around nine percent unemployment since the 1980s.

It is believed that these general trends have made and will continue to make Europe less competitive, and the continent will experience significant underperformance and instability until changes are made.

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