Unemployment Figures for European Union Shown to Be an Illusion

EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker boasted in his Sept. 13 speech on the “state of the union” that “almost 8 million jobs” had been created during his mandate so far. In reality, Eurostat figures show that real unemployment in the EU is 20% on average, with Italy up to 35%, as economist Alberto Bagnai has earlier reported.

Bagnai used the Eurostat figures on both people who are seeking a job and people who are no longer looking for a job (who are usually excluded from the official unemployed figures), plus those who are “involuntary part-time,” i.e. they would like to have a full-time job, but are forced to work part-time.

The results are devastating. The unemployment figure in Italy is over 35%, followed by Spain, Greece and Macedonia at between 32.5% and 33%, Cyprus with 27%, Croatia with 24%.

The average for the Eurozone (19 countries) is between 22 and 23%. The average for the EU (27 countries) is 20%. France is just above that figure, at 22%.

The Czech Republic and Iceland are at the top of the “virtuous” countries, with unemployment down to 7-8% and 11-12% respectively, with Germany just very slightly higher.

How then can Juncker claim a growth in employment? Simple: it is enough to work one hour a week to count as “employed”.

New official figures published in Italy are an example of that. According to the government, employment has grown by 1.096 million units compared to 2008. But economist Nino Galloni points to the fact that at the same time, total manhours have dropped by 1.1 billion, or about 5%. If both figures are correct, this means that part-time jobs have replaced full-time jobs.

Moreover, the same official figures say that 80% of the new jobs created are on a short-term contract.

In reality, Italian GDP has still not recovered to 2008 levels, while the population has increased by 0,5% yearly. This means that per capita income and productivity have dropped.