Euro-zone seasonally-adjusted unemployment2 stood at 9.0% in May 2004, unchanged compared to April, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, reports today. It was 8.9% in May 2003. The EU25 unemployment rate was 9.0% in May 2004, down from 9.1% in April3. It was also 9.1% in May 2003.
In May 2004, the lowest rates were registered in Cyprus, Luxembourg and Austria (all 4.2%), Ireland (4.5%), the United Kingdom (4.7% in March) and the Netherlands (4.9% in April). Unemployment rates were highest in Poland (18.9%), Slovakia (16.4%), Lithuania (11.5%) and Spain (11.1%).
Twelve Member States recorded an increase in their unemployment rate over a year, eleven a decrease and two remained the same. The Netherlands (3.6% in April 2003 to 4.9% in April 2004), Sweden (5.4% to 6.7%), Luxembourg (3.6% to 4.2%) and Denmark (5.4% in April 2003 to 6.0% in April 2004) recorded the most important relative increases, while the largest relative decreases were observed in Estonia (10.4% to 9.1%), Lithuania (13.0% to 11.5%) and Cyprus (4.5% to 4.2%).
In May 2004 compared to May 2003, the unemployment rate for males in the euro-zone grew from 7.9% to 8.0%, while it fell from 8.4% to 8.3% in the EU25. The female unemployment rate remained the same at 10.2% in the euro-zone, and was unchanged at 10.0% in the EU25.
In May 2004, the unemployment rate for under-25s was 17.4% in the euro-zone and 18.2% in the EU25. In May 2003 it had been 17.2% and 18.5% respectively. The lowest rates for under-25s were observed in Austria (6.9%), Ireland (8.1%) and the Netherlands (9.5% in April 2004), and the highest in Poland (39.6%), Slovakia (28.3%), Italy (27.1% in January 2004) and Greece (27.1% in December 2003).
Eurostat estimates that, in May 2004, 12.7 million men and women were unemployed in the euro-zone and 19.3 million in the EU25. These are seasonally-adjusted figures in line with ILO criteria. In May 2004, the US unemployment rate was 5.6% and the Japanese rate was 4.6%.