According to the latest report of the European statistical agency Eurostat, 16.7 million men and women in the 28 member countries of the EU were unemployed in August 2018. Compared with August 2017, unemployment fell by 1.9 million in the bloc.
The lowest unemployment rates in August 2018 were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.5 %), Germany and Poland (both 3.4 %). The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (19.1 %), Spain (15.2 %) and Italy (9.7%).
Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate fell in all member states. The largest decreases were registered in Cyprus (from 10.5 % to 7.5 %), Croatia (from 10.9 % to 8.5 %), Greece (from 21.3 % to 19.1 % between June 2017 and June 2018) and Portugal (from 8.8 % to 6.8 %).
An unemployed person is defined by Eurostat, according to the guidelines of the International Labour Organization, as someone aged 15 to 74 without work during the reference week who is available to start work within the next two weeks and who has actively sought employment at some time during the last four weeks. The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed as a percentage of the labour force.
The unemployment rate is an important indicator with both social and economic dimensions. Rising unemployment results in a loss of income for individuals, increased pressure with respect to government spending on social benefits and a reduction in tax revenue.