The level of unemployment in the eurozone did not change in February, official data showed on Tuesday, as national schemes to keep companies afloat held off the worst effects of the pandemic.
Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, said unemployment was at 8.3 percent in the 19 countries that use the euro single currency, the same as a revised figure for January.
Youth unemployment in the eurozone, which has risen more sharply during the Covid crisis, edged lower to 17.3 percent, Eurostat said.
That still remained higher than a year before, just before a wave of lockdowns crushed the economy, when unemployment in the eurozone had stood at 7.4 percent, with youth unemployment at 15.4 percent.
Joblessness in Europe exploded in the spring of 2020, the result of a landmark recession as restrictions on movement kept people at home in many countries across the globe.
However, many national governments implemented EU-backed job guarantee schemes and other programmes that have so far averted a long-term shock on employment that many had feared.
The unemployment rate in the 27 countries of the European Union followed the same trend, standing at 7.5 percent in February, stable compared to January, but one percentage point higher than a year ago.
The Czech Republic and Poland had the lowest unemployment rates in the bloc, at just above three percent.
Germany, the EU’s biggest economy and an industrial powerhouse, had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent.
The highest rates were recorded in economies highly dependent on tourism such as Spain, at 16.1 percent, and Greece, where the latest data showed an unemployment rate of 15.8 percent in December.—APP