Below is the list of unemployment rates in 3 continents as of December 2010, unless specified. Numbers are in percent. Data copied from Alas, Oplas and Co. CPAs-RSM business and finance blog.
India 10.8, China 9.6 (2009)
Philippines 7.1 (Q3), Indonesia 7.1 (Aug.), Pakistan 5.5 (July)
Japan 4.9, Taiwan 4.7, Vietnam 4.6 (2009) HK 4.0
S. Korea 3.6, Malaysia 3.1 (Nov.)
Singapore, 2.2 (Q4), Thailand 0.9 (Sept.)
* New Zealand 6.4 (Q3), Australia 5.0
Spain 20.2, Latvia 18.2 (Sept.)
Estonia 15.3 (Q3), Lithuania 14.4
Greece 13.5 (Oct.), Ireland 13.4
Slovakia 12.5, Poland 12.3,
Belgium 11.5 (Nov.), Turkey 11.2 (Oct.), Slovenia 11.1 (Nov.)
Portugal 10.9 (Q3), Hungary 10.7 (Nov.)
France 9.7, Czech Rep. 9.6
Italy 8.6, Finland 8.2, Iceland 8.0
Britain 7.9 (Nov.), Sweden 7.4, Germany 7.4 (Jan. 2011), Russia 7.2
Luxembourg 6.5, Netherlands 5.1, Austria 5.0, Denmark 4.1
Switzerland 3.6, Norway 3.6 (Nov.), Ukraine 2.0
Colombia 10.8 (Nov.), US 9.4
Venezuela 7.7 (Q4), Canada 7.6, Argentina 7.3 (Q3), Chile 7.1 (Nov.)
Peru 6.6, Brazil 5.3, Mexico 4.9
Primary source: The Economist, February 3rd 2011
Europe's unemployment woes are indeed structural, persisting for decades and not just for a few years. With double digit unemploment rate in at least 13 countries, it's a problem that tends to worsen rather than improve.
(Picture of many job applicants for seamen in Makati). When there are lots of government requirements, mandatory expectations and regulations for people who create jobs, the natural tendency of many entrepreneurs is to limit hiring whenever possible. If two people can do the job of three, why hire three? And if jobs can be done by robots, why hire people?
In the case of Asia, only India has a double-digit unemployment rate. In America, things are not as bad as Europe, but US unemployment rate of 9.4 percent is high, at least compared to its previous records in recent years.
Employment is a private contract between an employer and a would-be-employee. If there are too many external regulations by governments, it will ultimately distort the labor markets. Likewise, some people would also think that instead of becoming entrepreneurs and job creators themselves someday, they better remain employees forever. If there are lots of protection in favor of workers, why aspire to be become an entrepreneur? Unless of course if the economic returns of graduating from an employee forever to an entrepreneur in the chosen sector are indeed very high.