Unemployment in the euro area, May 2022

The unemployment rate fell to a new record low of 6.6% in May from 6.7% in April.

On a country-by-country basis, unemployment fell in 10 countries in May, including Germany, Italy and Spain. Meanwhile, in four countries the unemployment rate remained stable, including France, while in four countries the unemployment rate was increasing, including the Netherlands.

Disproportions in the labor market between central and peripheral countries persist. Spain (13.1%) and Greece (12.7%, data refer to April) are the countries with the highest unemployment rates. At the other end of the spectrum, Germany (2.8%) and Malta (3.1%) have the lowest unemployment rates.

Commenting on the release, Bert Colein, senior economist at ING, said:

“At the moment, the pressure on wages from the labor market remains. While substantially higher wages are yet to materialize, the rate of wage growth will continue to be markedly higher in the coming quarters. So while the economy is already slowing significantly, the traditional labor market sluggishness keeps unemployment prospects fairly bright for the coming period.”

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast experts expect the unemployment rate to average 7.2% in 2022, unchanged from last month’s forecast. The group expects the unemployment rate to average 7.1% in 2023.