Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Κι η ανεργία στην Ευρωζώνη τραβάει την ανηφόρα


Eurozone unemployment rate stayed at a record high in August, adding pressure on the European Central Bank to cut interest rates on Thursday in an attempt to ease lending and stimulate business across the debt crisis-hit bloc.

Joblessness in the 17-country euro area remained steady at 11.4 per cent in August compared with July, but rose significantly from a year earlier when the unemployment rate was at 10.2 per cent, said Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office. Youth unemployment – joblessness among under-25s – deteriorated further, rising to 22.8 per cent, up from 20.7 per cent during the same month a year ago, highlighting the extensive cost of the sovereign debt crisis on future generations.

A mixture of tough austerity measures and slowing demand for European goods forced 34,000 people out of a job in August, pushing the overall tally of unemployed people to 18.2m – roughly the population of Sweden, Denmark and Ireland combined. Since April 2011, the number of unemployed has risen every month, bringing the total out of a job to 2.64m.

Although unemployment rose at the slowest rate since April 2011, economists expect it to keep increasing given that business sentiment remains at record low levels and recent manufacturing data showed that output contracted for the 14th consecutive month in September.

“There looks to be a very real danger that the eurozone unemployment rate could reach 12 per cent in 2013,” said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight.

Clarification of the eurozone’s worrying levels of unemployment came as separate data confirmed that manufacturing in the region and in China remained sluggish. Both indices stayed below the important breakeven mark of 50 that separates growth from contraction.

Several economists said that the eurozone’s gross domestic product is likely to contract for a second consecutive time in the third quarter, pushing the region closer to its second recession in three years.
“The data suggest that the industrial sector is experiencing a sharp downturn and with unemployment at a record high, the outlook for the consumer sector is gloomy too,” said Jennifer McKeown, economist at Capital Economics. “We still see eurozone GDP falling by a far weaker-than-consensus 2.5 per cent next year as the peripheral debt crisis deepens.”

Spain, Greece and Portugal emerged once again as the countries that have suffered the most from the sovereign debt crisis that has engulfed Europe. Unemployment in Spain rose to 25.1 per cent, while Greece’s reached 24.4 per cent and Portugal’s rose to 15.9 per cent. The jobless rates in Italy and France were unchanged at 10.7 per cent and 10.6 per cent, respectively.

Most of the eurozone’s core northern countries managed to keep unemployment under control, with the rate of joblessness in Germany and the Netherlands stable at 5.5 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively.

However, there were signs that the slowdown in southern European countries was spreading north, with the rate of unemployment in Finland rising to 7.9 per cent in August, up from 7.6 in July.

“Although the unemployment rate is stable compared with previous months, the figures are much higher than a year ago and demonstrate the importance of putting in place effective reforms to reverse the trend in unemployment,” a European Commission spokesman said.

The spokesman added that as the member states are “diverging more than ever” when it comes to employment it is important that they swiftly implement July recommendations outlined in the EC’s employment package to create more dynamic labour markets and sustainable jobs.

Σχόλιο: Κι όσοι οι άνεργοι πληθαίνουν, τόσο θα αυξάνονται και οι πιέσεις για "λιγότερη" Ευρώπη. Κι εδώ είναι που το Ευρωπαϊκό μοντέλο απέτυχε παταγωδώς: στα καλά όλοι μαζί, αλλά στα άσχημα ο καθένας μόνος του. Πως να προχωρήσει όμως μια Ένωση έτσι; Από την άλλη, μπορεί να είναι λύση η ακόμη "περισσότερη" Ευρώπη; Με την σημερινή της μορφή σίγουρα όχι, χρειάζονται αλλαγές και επίπονες αποφάσεις. Ποιος όμως έχει το θάρρος να τις πάρει;;;

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