BRUSSELS — Amid rising unemployment, the jobs outlook across the European Union is deteriorating in 2012. Majorities in all EU countries except Germany and Austria — where unemployment rates are among the lowest in the eurozone — say now is a “bad time” to find a job in the city or area where they live. Pessimism is nearly universal in Greece, Italy, Ireland, and Spain, where more than nine in 10 residents say it is a bad time to find a job.
The poor jobs outlook comes in the context of some of the highest unemployment levels ever seen in the EU. According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency, unemployment levels increased slightly in September, up from already record levels in August. Spain (25.8%), Greece (25.1%), and Latvia (15.9%) had the highest unemployment levels in the EU, followed by Portugal (15.7%), Ireland (15.1%), and Slovakia (13.9%), as reported by Eurostat. In most countries, unemployment rates have not improved since 2011.
Germany is the only country where people are more likely to say it is a good time (46%) rather than a bad time (43%) to find a job, and even they are divided. In Sweden and Austria, where approximately one in three say it is a good time to find a job, residents are also more optimistic than other Europeans. In all other EU countries, however, fewer than one in four say it is a good time to find a job. In comparison, 28% in the U.S. and 43% in Canada say it is a good time to find jobs.