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Latvia still has highest unemployment in EU

By Editor. 01.02.2010

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The average seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Latvia last December was 22.8 percent, as Latvia registered the highest unemployment rate in the European Union.

For the fourth month in a row, according to the latest data from the EU statistical office "Eurostat".

Up until last September, unemployment in Latvia was the second highest in the EU, second only to Spain, while in 2007 and the first half of 2008 it was among the lowest in the EU, and lower than the average for the EU as a whole, informs Leta.

The next highest unemployment rates in December were registered in Spain (19.5 percent), Estonia (15.2 percent - third quarter), Lithuania (14.6 percent - third quarter), Slovakia (13.6 percent) and Ireland (13.3 percent).

The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (4 percent), Austria (5.4 percent), Cyprus (6.1 percent), Luxembourg (6.2 percent), Slovenia (6.8 percent), and Malta (7.2 percent).

In December, the average seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in the 27 European Union (EU) member states was 9.6 percent, compared to 9.5 percent in November. The unemployment rate in the eurozone reached 10 percent, up from 9.9 percent in November.

In comparison, in December of 2008 the unemployment rate in the 27 EU member states was 7.6 percent, and 8.2 percent in the eurozone.

The unemployment rate over the last year has risen in all EU member states, but the greatest rises were in Latvia (from 11.3 to 22.8 percent), Estonia (from 6.5 to 15.2 percent), and Lithuania (from 6.5 to 14.6 percent).

The lowest rises in unemployment over the year were recorded in Germany (from 7.1 to 7.5 percent), Luxembourg (from 5.3 to 6.2 percent), and Belgium (from 7.1 to 8.2 percent).

"Eurostat" data on unemployment levels in EU member states are based on labor force survey results, including people aged from 15 to 74. A person is considered unemployed if he/she is not working at the moment, is ready to start work in the next weeks, and has been actively looking for work for the previous four weeks.

According to data from the Latvian State Employment Agency, the registered unemployment rate in Latvia at the end of December stood at 16 percent.


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