In May 2020, when compared with April 2020, 253,000 people living in the EU lost their jobs, with 159,000 of them living in the euro area.
In terms of percentages, the euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 7.4%, up from 7.3% in April 2020. The EU unemployment rate was 6.7% in May 2020, up from 6.6% in April 2020. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Youth unemployment increased by 64,000 in EU
In May 2020, 2.8 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU, of whom 2.2 million were in the euro area. Compared with April 2020, youth unemployment increased by 64,000 in the EU and by 42,000 in the euro area.
In terms of percentages, in May 2020 the youth unemployment rate was 15.7% in the EU and 16.0% in the euro area, up from 15.4% and 15.7% respectively in the previous month.
Unemployment rate for women increased by 0.3%
In May 2020, the unemployment rate for women was 7.2% in the EU, up from 6.9% in April 2020. In the euro area, the unemployment rate for women increased from 7.7% in April 2020 to 7.9% in May 2020.
However, the unemployment rate for men in the EU was 6.4% in May 2020, but stable when compared with April 2020. The euro area showed a 7% unemployment rate for men in the euro area, which also remained stable in May.
The definition of unemployment
All estimates are based on a definition of unemployment as outlined by the International Labour Organisation. Unemployed people are people without a job who have been actively seeking work in the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks.
The COVID-19 confinement measures applied since March 2020 have triggered a sharp increase in the number of claims for unemployment benefits across the EU. At the same time, a significant part of those who had registered in unemployment agencies were no longer actively looking for a job, e.g. limited by the confinement measures or no longer available for work, for instance, if they had to take care of their children during the lockdown. This leads to discrepancies in the number of registered unemployed and those measured as unemployed according to the ILO definition.