Eurozone unemployment hits new low

More Irish men than women were out of work

Eurozone unemployment hits new low

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New figures show unemployment in the Eurozone has fallen to its lowest level since May 2009.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for countries using the Euro, including Ireland, was 9.6% in December 2016 - down from 9.7% in November.

Eurostat figures show this is also down from 10.5% in December 2015.

Among the member states, the lowest unemployment rates last December were recorded in the Czech Republic (3.5%) and Germany (3.9%).

While the highest unemployment rates were seen in Greece 23.0% (figure for October) and Spain (18.4%).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in December fell in 24 member states, while it increased in:

  • Cyprus (from 13.1% to 14.3%)
  • Italy (from 11.6% to 12.0%)
  • Estonia (from 6.6% to 6.7% between November 2015 and November 2016)
  • Denmark (from 6.1% to 6.2%)
  • And the largest decreases were registered in:
  • Croatia (from 15.0% to 11.4%)
  • Spain (from 20.7% to 18.4%)
  • Portugal (from 12.2% to 10.2%)

While here at home, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 7.1%, down from 7.2% in December 2016.

This is also down from 8.5% a year ago.

The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed was 154,800 last month - down from 157,700 when compared to the December 2016 figure, and a decrease of 29,800 when compared to January 2016.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.9% for males, down from 8.1% in December 2016 and down from 10.2% in January 2016.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for females in January was 6.0%, down from 6.1% in December 2016 and down from 6.6% in January 2016.

The Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has welcomed the latest figures.
"This is more welcome evidence that the Government’s approach to unemployment is working and it’s a positive way to start the New Year. It makes us all the more determined to help more individuals and families benefit from being at work in 2017," he said.
"That’s why in 2017 I intend to move at least another 20,000 people from welfare to work. I also want to make more progress towards our long-term target of reducing unemployment to 5-6%, and reducing long-term unemployment to below 2.5%."