A number of European countries have become the “flavor of economic discontent” recently, led by Greece and Spain.
I try to look at the unemployment picture as much as possible, aside from GDP output and prices or inflation rates. An economy growing at 7 percent or higher but has double-digit unemployment rate is still problematic.
Below is among the latest data on unemployment in Europe. In this list, I chose only those countries with double-digit (ie, at least 10.0 percent) unemployment rate, because that somehow speaks of the status of their economy.
Unemployment rate, in percent, as of April 2010 unless specified
Latvia, 22.3, March
Estonia, 19.8, Q1
Turkey, 14.4, Feb.
Greece, 12.1, Feb.
Slovenia, 10.7, Feb.
Portugal, 10.6, Q1
Source: The Economist, June 3rd 2010, table on “Output, prices and jobs”, http://www.economist.com/node/16274605
Greece, Spain, Portugal and Hungary were in the news recently. But there are few news about other European countries with even worse situation in the jobs market, like Latvia and Estonia. Or maybe I just did not catch the news when they were mentioned or reported.
An unemployment rate of 20 percent or higher is mind-boggling for me. That’s one out of five able-bodied people in the economy looking for a job cannot find one. And if underemployment (those who have jobs already but are looking for additional work) situation is to be added, the situation would look really bad.
What happened to the new democracies of Europe? Why do they have such high unemployment situation?