First estimates for the economic developments in the second quarter 2009 indicate that the bottom of the crisis has probably almost been reached. The labour market situation, however, is still rather gloomy.
At -0.1 % in the EZ16 and -2.5 % in the EU27, the downturn of GDP in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter has slowed down. At -2.5 % and -2.4 % respectively in the first quarter, the negative growth compared to the previous quarter was significantly more drastic (compare: STAT/09/125).

With regard to the labour market, the latest publication of Eurostat, however, still give no all-clear signal (compare: STAT/09/125). In July, the unemployment rate in all the Member States rose for the 12th consecutive time and reached with 9.0 % (preliminary values) in the second quarter the highest value for the EU27 since 2005. In the 16 countries of the Eurozone (EZ16) – which had to record a constantly higher unemployment rate than the EU 27 since the beginning of 2005 – the unemployment rate at 9.5% has reached the highest level since May 1999 and is thereby at the same level as the USA.

In the past year, the labour market situation has particularly worsened in the Baltic States. In Lithuania, the unemployment rate rose from 5.8 % in the first quarter 2008 to 16.7 % in the first quarter 2009, in Estonia from 4.1 % to 13.3 %.

The Netherlands (3.4 %) have the lowest unemployment rate in the EU27. At an unemployment rate of 4.4 % (according to ILO Definitions), Austria ranks - compared to other EU countries - in second place behind the Netherlands; however, here too the labour market situation has worsened over the past year. The worst situation is experienced by Spain, where after the collapse of the real estate market and the absence of tourists, the unemployment rate reached 18.5 %. This hit the under 25-year olds particularly hard: in July, 38.4 % were looking for a job. According to estimates about 21.8 million people were without a job in July; of those 15.1 million were in the EZ16.

As the developments on the labour market are always slightly delayed, then, however, continue for longer, experts expect that dependent on the economic development a reverse trend can only be expected for the beginning of 2011.

Further information:

Eurostat, STAT/09/125

Eurostat, STAT/09/123