The EU’s unemployment rate stood at 7.3% in March 2021, down from 7.4% in February 2021 and up from 6.4% in March 2020, the bloc’s statistical office said. Meanwhile, eurozone’s unemployment rate was 8.1%, down from 8.2% in February 2021 and up from 7.1% in March 2020.
Eurostat estimates that 15.520 million men and women in the EU, of whom 13.166 million in the eurozone, were unemployed in March 2021. Compared with February 2021, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 237 000 in the EU and by 209 000 in the eurozone. Compared with March 2020, unemployment rose by 2.019 million in the EU and by 1.614 million in the eurozone.
In March, the highest unemployment rates were posted by Spain (15.3%), Italy (10.1%), and Lithuania (8.9%), and the lowest by Poland (3.1%) and the Czech Republic (3.2%).
In March 2021, 2.951 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU, of whom 2.373 million were in the eurozone. In March 2021, the youth unemployment rate was 17.1% in the EU and 17.2% in the eurozone, compared with 17.2% and 17.3% respectively in the previous month. Compared with February 2021, youth unemployment decreased by 14 000 in the EU and by 17 000 in the eurozone. Compared with March 2020, youth unemployment increased by 319 000 in the EU and by 208 000 in the eurozone.
Unemployment by gender
In March 2021, the unemployment rate for women was 7.7% in the EU, down from 7.8% in February 2021. The unemployment rate for men was 7.0% in March 2021, also down from 7.1% in February 2021. In the eurozone, the unemployment rate for women decreased from 8.7% in February 2021 to 8.5% in March 2021 and the unemployment rate for men decreased from 7.8% to 7.7%.
In October 2020, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned that an entire generation of young people in Europe risked being left behind, as employers were halting hiring plans during the Covid-19 crisis.
The suspension of entry-level positions and an increase in layoffs during 2020 have resulted in a tsunami of applications for open positions.
The number of people aged 15-24 in the EU who are looking for a job or are underemployed rose by 5% in the past year, according to Eurostat. Spain and Italy are especially hard-hit, with over half of young people aged 15-24 unable to find work.