Europe may be a union, but when it comes to the distribution of unemployment rates across its 27 member nations (and as of July 1 with the addition of Croatia, 28), it is anything but. As the latest chart from Eurostat shows summarizing the just released July data, it is confusing if one should be more stunned by the continuing record unemployment in the Euroarea, which at 12.1% was once again an all time high (in line with expectations), or the gaping distribution of slack and lack of labor opportunities in the "Union", which ranges from 4.8% for Austria on the low end, and hits a gargantuan 27.6% for Greece on the high side (although with Spain at 26.3% it is rapidly approaching and threatening to overtake).
More details from Eurostat:
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.8%), Germany (5.3%) and Luxembourg (5.7%), and the highest in Greece (27.6% in May 2013) and Spain (26.3%).
Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate increased in seventeen Member States and fell in eleven. The highest increases were registered in Cyprus (12.2% to 17.3%), Greece (23.8% to 27.6% between May 2012 and May 2013), Slovenia (9.3% to 11.2%) and the Netherlands (5.3% to 7.0%). The largest decreases were observed in Latvia (15.7% to 11.5% between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013) and Estonia (10.1% to 7.9% between June 2012 and June 2013).
However, as is well-known, the biggest issue in Europe is youth unemployment. And at 24% in the Euro Area, even without a recent Greek print, it speaks volumes about the future growth potential of the continent.
In July 2013, 5.560 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 3.500 million were in the euro area. Compared with July 2012, youth unemployment decreased by 53 000 in the EU28 and by 16 000 in the euro area. In July 2013, the youth unemployment rate5 was 23.4% in the EU28 and 24.0% in the euro area, compared with 22.9% and 23.3% respectively in July 2012. In July 2013, the lowest rates were observed in Germany (7.7%), Austria (9.2%) and Malta (10.6%), and the highest in Greece (62.9% in May 2013), Spain (56.1%) and Croatia (55.4% in the second quarter of 2013).
Finally, here is the youth unemployment broken down by country: