August 2020 Euro Area unemployment at 8.1 %, EU at 7.4 %

In August 2020, the Euro Area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate has continued to rise for 5 consecutive months, reaching 8.1 %. The same trend has applied to the EU unemployment rate that reached 7.4 % in August 2020. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Eurostat estimates that 15.603 million men and women in the EU, of whom 13.188 million in the Euro Area, were unemployed in August 2020. Compared with July 2020, the number of persons unemployed increased by 238000 in the EU and by 251 000 in the Euro Area.

In August 2020, 3.032 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU, of whom 2.460 million were in the Euro Area. In August 2020, the youth unemployment rate was 17.6% in the EU and 18.1% in the Euro Area, up from 17.4 % and 17.8 % respectively in the previous month. Compared with July 2020, youth unemployment increased by 64000 in the EU and by 69000 in the Euro Area.

Unemployment by gender

In August 2020, the unemployment rate for women was 7.6 % in the EU, up from 7.5 % in July 2020. The unemployment rate for men was 7.1 % in August 2020, stable compared with July 2020. In the euro area, the unemployment rate for women increased from 8.3 % in July 2020 to 8.4 % in August 2020 while it increased from 7.8 % to 7.9 % for men.

Additional labour market indicators

These estimates are based on the globally used International Labour Organisation standard definition of unemployment, which counts as unemployed people without a job who have been actively seeking work in the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks. The COVID-19 outbreak and the measures applied to combat it have triggered a sharp increase in the number of claims for unemployment benefits across the EU. At the same time, a significant part of those who had registered in unemployment agencies were no longer actively looking for a job or no longer available for work, for instance, if they had to take care of their children. This leads to discrepancies in the number of registered unemployed and those measured as unemployed according to the ILO definition.

To capture in full the unprecedented labour market situation triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak, the data on unemployment have been complemented by additional indicators, e.g. underemployed part-time workers, persons seeking work but not immediately available and persons available to work but not seeking, released together with LFS data for the first quarter of 2020. The LFS data for the second quarter will be released on 8 October 2020.

Geographical information

The euro area (EA19) includes Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.

The European Union (EU27) includes Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.

Methods and definitions

Eurostat publishes harmonised unemployment rates for individual EU Member States, the euro area and the EU. These unemployment rates are based on the definition recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The measurement is based on a harmonised data source, the European Union Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Based on the ILO definition, Eurostat defines unemployed persons as persons aged 15 to 74 who:

–             are without work;

–             are available to start work within the next two weeks;

–             and have actively sought employment at some time during the previous four weeks.

Examples: Mr X was employed as a technician in the manufacturing sector until March but did not work from April until August due to the COVID crisis. His employment contract has not been broken and he has been assured by his employer he could return to work in September. Mr X therefore keeps an attachment to his job in the LFS meaning and is thus not recorded as unemployed.

Mrs Y was employed as an accountant until March but was dismissed in April by her employer due to the drop in activity. Mrs Y has actively searched for a new job on the internet with a view to be recruited as soon as the situation in the labour market improves. She is immediately available to start teleworking for her next employer. Mrs Y will be recorded as unemployed.

Mrs Z was unemployed, actively looking for a job until the COVID outbreak. She then interrupted her job searches in order to take care of her children until schools reopen full-time and the situation in the labour market improves. Mrs Z will be counted as inactive and not as unemployed in August.

The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed as a percentage of the labour force.

Series have been seasonally adjusted using the seasonal factors estimated in the period up to December 2019 included. Those seasonal factors will be kept unchanged (‘controlled concurrent adjustment method’) until the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak can be integrated in seasonal adjustment models.

The labour force is the total number of people employed plus unemployed. In this news release unemployment rates are based on employment and unemployment data covering persons aged 15 to 74.

The youth unemployment rate is the number of people aged 15 to 24 unemployed as a percentage of the labour force of the same age. Therefore, the youth unemployment rate should not be interpreted as the share of jobless people in the overall youth population.

When data for the most recent month are not available for a Member State, EU and EA aggregates are calculated using the latest data available for that Member State.

Country notes

Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Iceland: the trend component is used instead of the more volatile seasonally adjusted data.

Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Norway: 3-month moving averages of LFS data are used  instead of pure monthly indicators.

Germany: due to the introduction of the new German system of integrated household surveys, including the LFS, the monthly unemployment rate for August 2020 is an estimation based on the figures recorded in previous periods, taking into account current developments.

Revisions and timetable

The data in this News Release can be subject to revisions, caused by updates to the seasonally adjusted series whenever new monthly data are added; the inclusion of the most recent LFS data in the calculation process; update of seasonal adjustment models with complete annual data.

Compared with the rates published in News Release 130/2020 of 1 September 2020, the July unemployment rate for the euro area and the EU has been revised by 0.1 percentage points (pp) upwards. Among EU Member States, the rate has been revised by more than 0.1 percentage points downwards for Belgium (by 0.5 pp), Croatia and Portugal (both by 0.2 pp). The rate has been revised by more than 0.1 percentage points (pp) upwards for Bulgaria (by 1.7 pp), Denmark and Greece (both by 0.3 pp, May data for Greece), as well as France and Finland (both by 0.2