Despite improving employment signs in Europe, Spain continues to buck the trend with the unemployment rate for young adults being 43.5%, according to figures published Friday by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
The unemployment rate for the general Spanish population was 20.5%, the highest in the euro area (EU17), compared to a seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 9.9% in February 2011. It was 10.0% in February 2010.
The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.5% in February 2011, compared with 9.6% in January. It was 9.6% in February 2010, Eurostat said.
Eurostat estimates that 23.051 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 15.747 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in February 2011.
Compared with January 2011, the number of persons unemployed fell by 99,000 in the EU27 and by 77,000 in the euro area. Compared with February 2010, unemployment decreased by 31,000 in the EU27 and by 77,000 in the euro area.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (4.3%), Luxembourg (4.5%) and Austria (4.8%), and the highest in Spain (20.5%), Lithuania (17.4% in the fourth quarter of 2010) and Latvia (17.3% in the fourth quarter of 2010).
Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate fell in thirteen Member States, remained stable in two and increased in twelve.
The largest falls were observed in Latvia (20.1% to 17.3% between the fourth quarters of 2009 and 2010), Estonia (16.1% to 14.3% between the fourth quarters of 2009 and 2010) and Sweden (8.8% to 7.6%).
The highest increases were registered in Greece (10.2% to 14.1% between the fourth quarters of 2009 and 2010), Bulgaria (9.4% to 11.6%) and Ireland (13.0% to 14.9%).
Between February 2010 and February 2011, the unemployment rate for males fell from 9.9% to 9.7% in the euro area and from 9.8% to 9.5% in the EU27. The female unemployment rate increased from 10.1% to 10.2% in the euro area and from 9.4% to 9.6% in the EU27.
In February 2011, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 19.4% in the euro area and 20.4% in the EU27. In February 2010 it was 20.5% and 20.9% respectively. The lowest rates were observed in the Netherlands (7.4%) and Germany (7.9%), and the highest in Spain (43.5%) and Greece (36.1% in the fourth quarter of 2010).
In February 2011, the unemployment rate was 8.9% in the USA and 4.6% in Japan.