EU unemployment up slightly despite lockdown easing
BRUSSELS, July 30, 2020 (AFP) – Unemployment rose slightly in June in both the eurozone and the broader EU, while consumer confidence improved as coronavirus lockdowns eased, official figures showed Thursday.
In the 19-nation single currency bloc, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate reached 7.8 percent, up from 7.7 in May. In the 27-member union it was 7.1 percent, up from 7.0. But the Eurostat agency warned that its method of calculating unemployment may not take into account the true scale of job losses caused by the coronavirus epidemic and its attendant economic lockdowns.
Eurostat uses the International Labour Organisation definition of the unemployed as people who have been actively seeking work in the last four weeks and are available to start in the next two. “At the same time, a significant part of those who had registered in unemployment agencies were no longer actively looking for a job, e.g. limited by the confinement measures or no longer available for work, for instance, if they had to take care of their children during the lockdown,” Eurostat said.
“This leads to discrepancies in the number of registered unemployed and those measured as unemployed according to the ILO definition.” Eurostat estimates that 15.023 million people are unemployed in the EU, 12.685 million of them in the euro area. Separately, the European Commission’s ESI consumer confidence estimate or “Economic Sentiment Indicator” continued to improve in July after hitting an historic low in April.
Having been stable at roughly 100 points before the crisis, the ESI fell to 54.8 points in April and has now made up around half of its losses to 82.3 points in the eurozone.