The FINANCIAL -- More than 80% of the NUTS 2 regions of the European Union (EU) saw their unemployment rate fall in 2016 compared with 2015, and around 60% recorded a decrease of at least 0.5 percentage points.
However, regional unemployment rates continued to vary widely across the EU regions, with the lowest rates recorded in Niederbayern (2.1%) in Germany and Praha (2.2%) in the Czech Republic, followed by the German regions of Oberbayern (2.4%), Mittelfranken and Unterfranken (both 2.5%) and Tübingen (2.6%). At the opposite end of the scale, the highest unemployment rates were registered in Dytiki Makedonia (31.3%) in Greece, Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (30.8%) in Spain, Dytiki Ellada (29.8%) in Greece, Andalucía (28.9%) and Extremadura (27.5%) in Spain and Mayotte (27.1%), an overseas region of France.
Sixty EU regions with an unemployment rate half or less of the EU average
Among the 275 EU regions for which data are available, 60 had an unemployment rate of 4.3% or less in 2016, half the average of the EU (8.6%). They included twenty-four regions in Germany, eighteen in the United Kingdom, six in the Czech Republic, three each in Hungary and Austria, two each in Belgium and Romania and one each in Italy and the Netherlands. In contrast, 32 regions had a rate of at least 17.2%, double that of the EU: twelve out of the thirteen regions in Greece, ten in Spain, and five each in Italy and France (all overseas departments).
Youth unemployment rates varied from around 4% in Schwaben to almost 70% in Melilla
In 2016, the average unemployment rate for young people aged between 15 and 24 in the EU was 18.7%. Regional differences in the unemployment rate for young people are however marked. The lowest rates were notably recorded in German regions, in particular Schwaben (4.3%), Oberbayern and Tübingen (both 4.6%), Weser-Ems (5.6%) and Freiburg (6.0%), and the highest in Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (69.1%) and Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta (63.3%) in Spain. In more than three-quarters of the EU regions, the unemployment rate for young people was at least twice that of total unemployment.
In a quarter of regions, the majority of the unemployed had been out of work for at least a year
The long-term unemployment share, which is defined as the percentage of unemployed persons who have been unemployed for 12 months or more, stood at 46.6% on average in the EU in 2016. In the EU regions, the lowest shares of long-term unemployed were recorded in the Swedish regions of Småland med öarna (14.1%), Mellersta Norrland (14.7%) and Övre Norrland (15.4%). On the other hand, more than three-quarters of the unemployed had been out of work for at least a year in the French overseas region Mayotte (80.9%), in five Greek regions – Sterea Ellada (77.6%), Ipeiros (77.3%), Kentriki Makedonia (75.8%), Dytiki Ellada and Peloponnisos (both 75.5%) – as well as in Severozapaden (76.5%) in Bulgaria.