Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More Austerity in Europe in face of Record Unemployment

Christoph Dreier 
Global Research
June 1, 2013
Unemployment in the euro zone hit a two-year high in April. According to the latest figures of Europe’s Eurostat statistical agency published on Friday, the unemployment rate rose from 12.1 percent in March to 12.2 percent last month. Fully 24.4 percent of young workers have no job.

The highest jobless rates are found in the southern countries, which have plunged into deep recessions since 2008. At the top of the list is Greece, with an unemployment rate of 27.0 percent, an estimated economic contraction of 4.2 percent this year. A stunning 62.5 percent of youth are out of work.

Second is Spain with 26.8 percent jobless and 56.4 percent joblessness among youth. Rates in Portugal (17.8 percent unemployment overall, 42.5 percent for youth), Cyprus (15.6 and 32.7 percent), and Italy (12.0 and 40.5 percent) are likewise extremely high.

But also in Sweden, which saw mass rioting by suburban youth in recent weeks, nearly a quarter of workers under 25 years old are unemployed. In Germany the jobless rate is relatively low, at 5.4 percent, though Germany’s national statistical agency by contrast estimates the figure at 6.8 percent.

In France 11 percent of the working population has no job, while at least 26.5 percent of youth are unemployed. This number has increased constantly for 24 months. France’s economy is confronted with an expected recession of 0.1 percent this year.

These official Eurostat figures do not include all the people who actually do not have jobs in Europe. They downplay the total number of jobless, as the long-term unemployed, who no longer look for a job every single week, are not counted at all.

Accurate figures measuring the total number of jobless workers would therefore be even higher.
This increase in unemployment and the deep recession in many countries are the result of brutal austerity measures imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy have slashed their budgets over the last five years, dismissed hundreds of thousands of public workers, and drastically cut the wages of their remaining employees.

Read More