Euro area jobless rate unexpectedly eased to its lowest level since in over a decade in February, just ahead of the announcement of coronavirus pandemic containment measures in several countries in the region. The jobless rate fell to 7.3 percent, data from Eurostat showed Wednesday, while economists had expected it to remain unchanged at January’s 7.4 percent. That was the lowest rate since March 2008, the agency added. In February 2019, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.
The EU unemployment rate was 6.5 percent, unchanged from February. A year ago, it was 6.9 percent. The latest rate is the lowest recorded in the EU since the start of the monthly unemployment series in February 2000, Eurostat said. In February, a total 13.984 million people were unemployed in the EU, of whom 12.047 million were in the euro area. The number of persons unemployed decreased by 62,000 from the previous month in the EU and by 88,000 in the euro area. Compared to the same month last year, unemployment fell by 784,000 persons in the EU and by 663,000 in the euro area.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates in February were recorded in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Poland, while the highest rates were observed in Greece and Spain.
There were 2.734 million unemployed young persons in the EU in February, of whom 2.258 million were in the euro area. Compared to the same month last year, youth unemployment decreased by 85,000 persons in the EU and by 56,000 in the euro area.
The youth unemployment rate was 14.9 percent in the EU and 15.5 percent in the euro area in February versus 15.5 percent and 16.1 percent respectively a year ago.