Portuguese UE Rates

D OC donaloc at peterquinn.com
Fri Aug 9 04:34:25 MDT 2002

In order to clarify the position with unemployment rates in the EU I post
some details. For full details see the useful Eurostat site:


June 2002

Euro-zone unemployment up to 8.4%

EU15 up to 7.7 %

Euro-zone seasonally-adjusted unemployment rose to 8.4% in June 2002
compared to 8.3% in May. It was 8.0% in June 2001.

The EU15 unemployment rate was 7.7% in June compared to 7.6% in May. It was
7.4% in June 2001.

In June 2002, lowest rates were registered in Luxembourg (2.3%), the
Netherlands (2.8% in May), Austria (4.1%), Denmark (4.2% in May), Ireland
and Portugal (4.4% each). Spain’s 11.5% remained the EU’s highest rate.

[contrary to the claim - Portugal has one of the lowest unemployment rates.

In the last twelve months, Austria (3.5% to 4.1%), the Netherlands (2.4% in
May 2001 to 2.8% in May 2002), Ireland (3.8% to 4.4%) and Luxembourg (2.0%
to 2.3%) recorded the most important relative increases. Finland's rate on
the other hand, fell from 9.1% to 8.9% and Denmark's rate fell from 4.3% (in
May 2001) to 4.2% (in May 2002).

[Note: the increases experienced which has lead to the average increase
throughout the Eurozone has been in the economies with the lowest
unemployment. Also note,that Ireland (the Free State) has experienced a rise
of 0.6% in its unemployment rate - indicative of our more 'open' and
'dependent' economy which has been hit hard by the US plunge]

In June 2002 compared to June 2001, the unemployment rate for males in the
euro-zone grew from 6.7% to 7.2%, and the female unemployment rate rose from
9.7% to 9.9%. In the EU15 the unemployment rate for males grew from 6.4% in
June 2001 to 6.9% in June 2002. Over the same period the female rate
increased from 8.5% to 8.8%.

[This is actually something I have never came across. In Ireland, our female
unemployment rate is lower than the male rate as more women remain outside
the workforce - and are, therefore, not counted within the unemployment
statistics. Two explanations for this opposite EU-wide trend arise in my
mind, but I'm not sufficiently expert at gender impacts within the EU labour
force to determine whether either are correct - any ideas? What's the
situation in the US?]

In June 2002, the unemployment rate for under-25s was 16.7% in the euro-zone
and 15.5% in the EU15. This compares to 15.7% and 14.6% respectively a year
earlier. In June 2002, it ranged from 6.0% in the Netherlands (in May) to
22.5% in Spain.

[This illustrates that trend of low youth employment rates. The main issue
here is methodological. Unemployment rates are taken as a proportion of
total labour force (which excludes students, domestic workers, those on
sickness benefits and those falling through the net (aka discouraged
workers). In some countries, the social welfare systems may encourage some
of these latter categories to 'sign on' as job-seekers without really
looking for work. This, IMO, may lie behind the variances between the
Netherlands and Spain.]

In June, the US unemployment rate was 5.9% and the Japanese rate was 5.4%.

Unemployment rates (%) in May and June 2002 in ascending order

EU15 7.7 7.6 Portugal 4.4 4.4
Euro-zone 8.4 8.3 Sweden 4.9 5.0
Luxembourg 2.3 2.3 Belgium 6.9 6.8
Netherlands n/a 2.8 Germany 8.3 8.2
Austria 4.1 4.1 Finland 8.9 9.0
Denmark n/a 4.2 France 9.2 9.1
Ireland 4.4 4.4 Spain 11.5 11.4

Source: Eurostat


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