Eurostat has released the latest unemployment data for the Eurozone 17. It does not make for pleasant reading. Because of the foolish contractionary austerity policies being implemented there, as expected unemployment is rising. It is now 10 % in France, Belgium 7.2 %, 9.3 % in Italy, 23.6 % in Spain, 14.7 % in Ireland and 21.0 % in Greece. Austria on the other hand has 4.2 % unemployment, Germany 5.7 %, Netherlands 4.9 %, Denmark 7.9 %, and Sweden 7.5 %. The unemployment rate in the U.K. which is , of course, not in the Euro zone, is 8.3%. However, they too are foolishly following a contractionary austerity policy. From February 2011 to February 2012 male unemployment has increased from 9.7 to 10.7% in the Euro17 area and for females from 10.3 to 11%. These increases are greater than the rise in unemployment in the broader EU27.
Youth unemployment is also rising in many countries. The rate is 8.2% in Germany,9.4 % in the Netherlands but unbelievably 50.4 % in Greece and 50.5 % in Spain.It is also elevated in Italy 31.9%, Ireland 31.6%, France 21.7%, Portugal 35.4%, and Sweden 23.5 %. It is high in the U.S. 16.5% and the U.K. 22 %.
With rates of unemployment as high as these it is no surprise to see rising dissatisfaction and social unrest. A sane policy in these circumstances would emphasize spending to stimulate the economy. But sadly reason seems in short supply these days in the policy making circles which run Europe. See Eurostat for the complete data report.
I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.