By John Meyer, financial consultant – Eurasia Business news, March 4, 2022

In January 2022, the euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8%, down from 7.0% in December 2021 and from 8.3% in January 2021. The EU unemployment rate was 6.2% in January 2022, down from 6.3% in December 2021 and from 7.5% in January 2021. These figures have just been published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The labour market has benefited from the strong rebound of the European economy since spring 2021, after the historic recession linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the EU as a whole, unemployment also reached an all-time low, at 6.2% in January. The European economy, driven by France and Italy, overcame the impact of the pandemic last year, recording record growth. The euro area’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5.2% in 2021, as in the EU as a whole. And economic indicators were still positive for the first months of the year, despite the restrictions imposed by the new wave of contaminations with the Omicron variant.

Eurostat estimates that 13.346 million men and women in the EU, of whom 11.225 million in the euro area, were unemployed in January 2022. Compared with December 2021, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 216 000 in the EU and by 214 000 in the euro area. Compared with January 2021, unemployment decreased by 2.522 million in the EU and by 2.117 million in the euro area.

Youth unemployment

In January 2022, 2.546 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU, of whom 2.038 million were in the euro area. In January 2022, the youth unemployment rate was 14.0% in the EU and 13.9% in the euro area, down from 14.3% and 14.2% respectively in the previous month. Compared with December 2021, youth unemployment decreased by 62 000 in the EU and by 52 000 in the euro area. Compared with January 2021, youth unemployment decreased by 680 000 in the EU and by 589 000 in the euro area.

Additional labour market indicators

These estimates are based on the globally used International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard definition of unemployment, which counts as unemployed people without a job who have been actively seeking work in the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks. The COVID-19 crisis and the measures applied to combat it have triggered a sharp increase in the number of claims for unemployment benefits across the EU. At the same time, a significant part of those who had registered in unemployment agencies might be no longer actively looking for a job or no longer available for work. This may still lead to discrepancies in the number of registered unemployed and those measured as unemployed according to the ILO definition.

To capture in full the unprecedented labour market situation triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak, the data on unemployment have been complemented by additional indicators, e.g. underemployed part-time workers, persons seeking work but not immediately available and persons available to work but not seeking, released together with LFS data for the third quarter of 2021. LFS data for the fourth quarter of 2021 will be released on 13 April 2022.

The Impact of the War

The war in Ukraine, which aggravated on February 24 with Russian troops entering into ukrainien territory could penalize the economic activity in Europe, casts a shadow over the outlook for the coming months. But the European Commission does not believe, at this stage, that the economy is threatened with recession.

Brussels currently forecasts 4% GDP growth in 2022, but this forecast is expected to be lowered in a new estimate in the spring. Among EU member countries, the highest unemployment rates in January were recorded in Spain (11.2%), Greece (10.4%) and Italy (8%). In France, 7.3% of the working population was unemployed, compared to 3.5% in Germany. The Czech Republic (1.9%) and Poland (2.8%) had the lowest rates of unemployed.

Read also : How to invest in gold

Gold prices have been surging since January, amid geopolitical tensions and inflation worries in Europe and the United States. On March 4, gold was traded in the morning at $ 1,949.70 per troy ounce at the the London marketplace. The yellow metal has always been a great hedge against inflation because it rises in price when the cost of living standards rises. 

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