The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 7.9% in December 2018, stable compared with November 2018 and down from 8.6% in December 2017. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since October 2008. The EU28 unemployment rate was 6.6% in December 2018, stable compared with November 2018 and down from 7.2% in December 2017. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since the start of the EU monthly unemployment series in January 2000. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Eurostat estimates that 16.306 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 12.919 million in the euro area, were unemployed in December 2018. Compared with November 2018, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 75 000 in both the EU28 and the euro area. Compared with December 2017, unemployment fell by 1.533 million in the EU28 and by 1.174 million in the euro area.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates in December 2018 were recorded in Czechia (2.1%), Germany (3.3%), Poland (3.5%) and the Netherlands (3.6%). The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (18.6% in October 2018), Spain (14.3%) and Italy (10.3%).
Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate fell in all Member States except France where it remained stable. The largest decreases were registered in Greece (from 21.0% to 18.6% between October 2017 and October 2018), Spain (from 16.5% to 14.3%) and Croatia (from 9.7% to 7.7%).
In December 2018, the unemployment rate in the United States was 3.9%, up from 3.7% in November 2018 and down from 4.1% in December 2017.
In December 2018, 3.365 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 2.391 million were in the euro area. Compared with December 2017, youth unemployment decreased by 249 000 in the EU28 and by 141 000 in the euro area. In December 2018, the youth unemployment rate was 14.9% in the EU28 and 16.6% in the euro area, compared with 16.1% and 17.8% respectively in December 2017. In December 2018, the lowest rates were observed in Czechia (5.8%), Germany (6.0%) and the Netherlands (6.6%), while the highest were recorded in Greece (38.5% in October 2018), Spain (32.7%) and Italy (31.9%).
The euro area (EA19) includes Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.
The European Union (EU28) includes Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Methods and definitions
Eurostat produces harmonised unemployment rates for individual EU Member States, the euro area and the EU. These unemployment rates are based on the definition recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The measurement is based on a harmonised source, the European Union Labour Force Survey (LFS).
Based on the ILO definition, Eurostat defines unemployed persons as persons aged 15 to 74 who:
– are without work;
– are available to start work within the next two weeks;
– and have actively sought employment at some time during the previous four weeks.
The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed as a percentage of the labour force.
The labour force is the total number of people employed plus unemployed. In this news release unemployment rates are based on employment and unemployment data covering persons aged 15 to 74.
The youth unemployment rate is the number of people aged 15 to 24 unemployed as a percentage of the labour force of the same age. Therefore, the youth unemployment rate should not be interpreted as the share of jobless people in the overall youth population.
When data for the most recent month are not available for a Member State, EU and EA aggregates are calculated using the latest data available for that Member State.
Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Iceland: the trend component is used instead of the more volatile seasonally adjusted data.
Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Norway: 3-month moving averages of LFS data are used instead of pure monthly indicators.
Revisions and timetable
The data in this News Release can be subject to revisions, caused by updates to the seasonally adjusted series whenever new monthly data are added; the inclusion of the most recent LFS data in the calculation process; update of seasonal adjustment models with complete annual data.
Compared with the rates published in News Release 4/2019 of 9 January 2019, the November 2018 unemployment rate for EA19 remains unchanged, while the rate for EU28 has been revised downwards from 6.7% to 6.6%. Among Member States, the rate has been revised by more than 0.1 percentage points (pp) downwards for Spain, Cyprus and Poland (all by 0.3 pp) as well as for Bulgaria and Finland (both by 0.2 pp). The unemployment rate has been revised by more than 0.1 percentage points upwards for France and Slovenia (both by 0.2 pp).