Unemployment in Bulgaria drops again, but youth joblessness is up

Unemployment in Bulgaria drops again, but youth joblessness is up

In a year, unemployment in Bulgaria decreased to 6.6 per cent in March 2017, but at the same time joblessness among youth grew, according to figures released by EU statistics agency Eurostat on May 2.

In March 2016, unemployment in Bulgaria was 8.1 per cent – about 267 000 people. In the same month a year later, 211 000 people were jobless.

The March 2017 unemployment figure was a slight drop on the February 2017 figure, when it was 6.7 per cent. Continuing a trend, this was the latest month in which unemployment in Bulgaria was below the EU average.

But in a counterpoint to the trend, youth unemployment in Bulgaria was up, from 16.7 per cent in March 2016 to 17.5 per cent in March 2017, a rise from 28 000 to 30 000 Bulgarians aged younger than 25.

Eurostat said that in March 2017, unemployment in the EU averaged eight per cent, down from 8.1 per cent in February 2017 and from 8.7 per cent in March 2016. For the EU, this was the lowest unemployment figure since January 2009.

The 19-member euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.5 per cent in March 2017, stable compared to February 2017 and down from 10.2 per cent in March 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since April 2009.

Eurostat estimated that 19.716 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 15.515 million in the euro area, were unemployed in March 2017.

Compared with February 2017, the number of people unemployed decreased by 56 000 in the EU28 and by 5 000 in the euro area. Compared with March 2016, unemployment fell by 1.647 million in the EU28 and by 991 000 in the euro area.

Among EU countries, the lowest unemployment rates in March 2017 were recorded in the Czech Republic (3.2 per cent), Germany (3.9 per cent) and Malta (4.1 per cent). The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (23.5 per cent in January 2017) and Spain (18.2 per cent).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in March 2017 fell in 23 member states, remained stable in France and Austria, while it increased in Denmark (from six per cent to 6.2 per cent), Italy (from 11.5 per cent to 11.7 per cent) and Lithuania (from 8.0 per cent to 8.1 per cent).

The largest decreases were registered in Croatia (from 14 per cent to 11.3 per cent), Portugal (from 12.0 per cent to 9.8 per cent), Spain (from 20.3 per cent to 18.2 per cent) and Ireland (from 8.3 per cent to 6.4 per cent)

In March 2017, 3.883 million young people (under 25) were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 2.727 million were in the euro area.

Compared with March 2016, youth unemployment decreased by 439 000 in the EU28 and by 268 000 in the euro area.

In March 2017, the youth unemployment rate was 17.2 per cent in the EU28 and 19.4 per cent in the euro area, compared with 19.1 per cent and 21.3 per cent respectively in March 2016.

In March 2017, the lowest rate of youth unemployment was observed in Germany (6.7 per cent), while the highest were recorded in Greece (48.0 per cent in January 2017), Spain (40.5 per cent) and Italy (34.1 per cent), Eurostat said./IBNA