Prague, Czech Republic – Despite unemployment gaining ground as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and the pandemic’s economic fallout, the Czech Republic and Poland continue to report the two lowest unemployment rates among EU member states, according to the latest Eurostat figures.
With around 16 million people without a job in the EU, the 27-member bloc’s average unemployment rate stood at 7.5% in November.
This is more than twice as high as the unemployment rate reported in the Czech Republic (2.9%, +0.8 percentage point in one year) and Poland (3.3%, + 0.4 percentage point). The EU’s statistical office estimates that around 155,000 and 570,000 people were unemployed in the Czech Republic and Poland, respectively.
The Netherlands (4%), Germany (4.5%), Malta (4.8%), Bulgaria (4.9%) and Slovenia (4.9%) count among the other EU countries with the lowest unemployment rates.
At the other end of the scope, the highest unemployment figures were recorded in Spain (16.4%), Greece (16.1%) and Lithuania (10.4%) at the end of last year.
According to Eurostat figures, all EU countries have seen their share of unemployed people increase year-on-year. Italy, where it fell from 9.6% in November 2019 to 8.9% twelve months later, was the only exception.
Experts however point out that it may be too soon to accurately assess the full impact of the pandemic on the labour market as many EU member states are now re-introducing lockdown measures and more business closures and lay-offs are to be expected in the coming months.