The FINANCIAL -- More than 80% of the NUTS 2 regions of the European Union (EU) saw their unemployment rate for persons aged 15-74 fall in 2017 compared with 2016, 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 Praha (1.7%) in the Czech Republic and Trier (2.0%) in Germany, followed by the Czech regions of Střední Čechy and Jihozápad and the German regions of Niederbayern and Mittelfranken (all 2.1%). At the opposite end of the scale, the highest unemployment rates were registered in Dytiki Makedonia (29.1%) in Greece, Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (27.6%) in Spain, Dytiki Ellada in Greece and Extremadura in Spain (both 26.3%), Mayotte (25.9%), an overseas region of France and Andalucía (25.5%) in Spain.
Around 20% of EU regions with an unemployment rate half or less of the EU average
Among the 275 EU regions for which data are available, 56 had an unemployment rate of 3.8% or less in 2017, half the average of the EU (7.6%). They included twenty-one regions in Germany, thirteen in the United Kingdom, seven in the Czech Republic, three each in Hungary and Austria, two each in Belgium, Poland and Romania and one each in Bulgaria, Italy and the Netherlands. In contrast, 31 regions had a rate of at least 15.2%, double that of the EU: all thirteen regions in Greece, nine in Spain, five in France and four in Italy.
Youth unemployment rates varied from around 4% in Praha and Oberbayern to almost 63% in Melilla
In 2017, the average unemployment rate for young people aged between 15 and 24 in the EU was 16.8%. Regional differences in the unemployment rate for young people are however marked. The lowest rates were in Praha in the Czech Republic and Oberbayern in Germany (both 3.8%), followed by German regions Weser-Ems
(4.6%) and Stuttgart (4.7%) as well as Zeeland (5.0%) in the Netherlands, and the highest in Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla (62.7%) in Spain and Voreio Aigaio (58.2%) in Greece. In more than three-quarters of the EU regions, the unemployment rate for young people was at least twice that of total unemployment.
In more than 20% 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 45.0% on average in the EU in 2017. In the EU regions, the lowest shares of long-term unemployed were recorded in Övre Norrland (12.8%) in Sweden, Berkshire,
Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire (13.2%) in the United Kingdom and Bucuresti – Ilfov (13.8%) in Romania. 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 (83.8%) and in two Greek regions – Attiki (77.3%) and Thessalia (77.2%).