Eurostat today released its monthly unemployment report and it showed that unemployment is generally falling in Europe, with an EU average of 9.3% and a Euro area average of 10.7%. Spain has seen the biggest drop the latest year but is still way above the European average with a 21.6% unemployment rate (down from 23.9% a year ago).
What is more interesting is that though the Southern European crisis economies, especially Greece and Spain but also to a lesser extent also Portugal and Italy are still mired by very high unemployment rates. the economies that used to be crisis economies in Northern Europe, the Baltic States and Ireland now all have unemployment rates below the Euro area average, and everyone except Latvia have a lower rate than the EU average. During the worst part of the slump, unemployment was around 20% (give or take a few percentage points) in all these countries, but now Estonia has an unemployment rate as low as 6%. Lithuania and Ireland both have an unemployment rate of 8.9% and Latvia has an unemployment rate of 9.9%.
It would of course have been better if the unemployment rates had fallen even more, but the point is that these countries have improved in these countries dramatically “despite” having had so-called fiscal austerity and refrained from devaluation