The unemployment rate in the Euro 17 countries (those with the Euro currency) reached an all-time high of 12% in February 2013. The wider European Union (all 27 countries) witnessed an unemployment rate of 10.9%. In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with February 2012, when they were 10.9% and 10.2% respectively.
Current unemployment rates by a sample of countries: Austria (4.8%), Germany (5.4%), Luxembourg (5.5%), Netherlands (6.2%), Greece (26.4%), Spain (26.3%), Portugal (17.5%), Cyprus (14.0%), Latvia (14.3%), Estonia (9.9%) and Ireland (14.2%).
In December 2012 the UK unemployment rate was 7.7% down from 8.3% in February 2012. The UK government argues that the private sector has created over 1 million new jobs since they came to power! However, many jobs are either part-time or temporary. Un-retirement (people bored with retirement re-entering the labour market) also accounts for the fall in unemployment. Also, remember that those not actively seeking work (for whatever reason) are classified as inactive not unemployed, further skewing the figures.
The outlook for young workers remains grim with almost 25% of people aged under 25 in the EU without a job: Greece (almost 60%), Spain (56%), Portugal (39%), Italy (38%), Sloavkia (35%), Cyprus (32%) and Ireland (31%). In the UK over 30% of young unemployed have been without a job for more than a year.