From El Pais
The latest figures from the European Union’s statistics agency highlight how long the road to Spain’s economic recovery actually is. While unemployment fell in 2016 from 22.1% to 19.6% – it currently stands at 18.75% – it is still more than twice the EU average of 8.6%. And as with recent years, several of Spain’s regions are among the EU’s worst unemployment black spots: in fact, five of the 10 worst-affected areas in Europe are in Spain.
The report shows that for most Germans, unemployment is not a problem: seven of Europe’s regions with the lowest level of unemployment are in Germany, with Lower Bavaria leading the way at 2.1%. This overwhelmingly rural area exemplifies the strength of German industry: car maker BMW is one of the biggest employers in the region through its factory at Dingolfing, which employs 17,500 people and produces 340,000 vehicles a year.
Similarly, nine of the 10 European regions with the lowest levels of youth employment are in Germany, with Swabia (4.3%) the best-placed on the continent.
Lower Bavaria in Germany has the European Union’s lowest unemployment rate: 2.1%
The north-south divide shows in terms of long-term unemployment – or people have been out of work for more than 12 months – as well. While no Spanish regions are among the 10 with people who have been out of work for more than a year, seven of them are in Greece, which has the EU’s highest unemployment rate. The European Commission expects Greece to resume growth this year after a long period of recession and stagnation and a debt crisis that has led its creditors to demand deep public spending cuts, tax hikes and privatisation.
At the other extreme are Sweden and the United Kingdom, with four and five regions respectively among the 10 with the lowest number of long-term unemployed (below 20% of the total number of unwaged).