Euro area unemployment at 7.3%
In April 2020, the second month after COVID-19 containment measures were implemented by most Member States, the euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 7.3%, up from 7.1% in March 2020. The EU unemployment rate was 6.6% in April 2020, up from 6.4% in March 2020. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Eurostat estimates that 14.079 million men and women in the EU, of whom 11.919 million in the euro area, were unemployed in April 2020. Compared with March 2020, the number of persons unemployed increased by 397 000 in the EU and by 211 000 in the euro area.
In April 2020, 2.776 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU, of whom 2.239 million were in the euro area. In April 2020, the youth unemployment rate was 15.4% in the EU and 15.8% in the euro area, up from 14.6% and 15.1% respectively in the previous month. Compared with March 2020, youth unemployment increased by 159 000 in the EU and by 89 000 in the euro area.
Unemployment by gender
In April 2020, the unemployment rate for women was 6.8% in the EU, up from 6.7% in March 2020. The unemployment rate for men was 6.4% in April 2020, compared with 6.1% in March 2020. In the euro area, the unemployment rate remained stable for women in April 2020 compared with March 2020 (at 7.6%) while it increased from 6.8% to 7.0% for men.
These estimates are based on the globally used International Labour Organisation 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 confinement measures applied since March 2020 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 were no longer actively looking for a job, e.g. limited by the confinement measures or no longer available for work, for instance, if they had to take care of their children during the lockdown. This leads to descrepances 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 will be complemented by additional indicators, e.g. on employment, underemployment and potential additional labour force participants, when the LFS quarterly data for 2020 are published.
Eurostat publishes harmonised unemployment rates for individual EU Member States, the euro area and the EU. These unemployment rates are based on the definition recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The measurement is based on a harmonised data source, the European Union Labour Force Survey (LFS).
Based on the ILO definition, Eurostat defines unemployed persons as persons aged 15 to 74 who:
– are without work;
– are available to start work within the next two weeks;
– and have actively sought employment at some time during the previous four weeks