The eurozone unemployment increased by 0.1 percentage points in May, a third month marked by Covid-19 containment measures in most Member States. According to the European Union's statistical office (Eurostat), the euro-area unemployment rate was 7.4%. Finland, where the 5-party coalition government has also taken lockdown measures to curb the virus spread the unemployment rate rose to 7%.
Thus, Finland's unemployment rate as calculated by Eurostat is four tenths below the average of the 19-member euro area. However, it is above the average for the broader EU-27, which was 6.7% in May.
Youth unemployment (under 25) grew much faster, meanwhile: Eurostat estimated that 16% of youths were out of work in the euro area, and 15.7% in the EU - both up by 0.3%.
In Finland unemployed jobseekers aged under 25 numbered 56,400 in May, representing an increase of 27,700 from one year ago the government said in its latest Employment Bulletin.
Claims of unemployment benefits
"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," the office said in a press release.
The eurozone has seen a long period of falling unemployment following a peak of more than 12% in 2012, though the number of people out of work differs greatly country to country.
The agency counts people as unemployed if they are out of work and "are available to start work within the next two weeks," and "have actively sought employment at some time during the previous four weeks."
With Covid-19 containment measures preventing people from "actively seeking" employment, the actual number of unemployed people might be much higher.
Since May, many coronavirus restrictions have been eased across the EU.