The euro area unemployment rate remained unchanged in February as government support measures continue to protect jobs amid tight Covid-19 related restrictions, preliminary figures from Eurostat showed Tuesday.
The unemployment rate held steady at seasonally-adjusted 8.3 percent in February. A year ago, the jobless rate was 7.3 percent.
Economists had expected the rate to remain steady at January’s original figure of 8.1 percent.
The unchanged jobless rate highlights the extent to which government policies have protected jobs during the pandemic, Jessica Hinds, an economist at Capital Economics, said. With this support set to continue, the risk of a surge in unemployment in 2021 is low.
The ending of furlough schemes clouds the prospect of a labor market rebound, although the outlook is improving, Bert Colijn, an ING economist said.
In the EU, the jobless rate was 7.5 percent in February, unchanged from the previous month, the rate for which was revised from 7.3 percent.
In February, the number of unemployed in the EU was 15.953 million, of whom 13.571 million were in the euro area. Compared to the previous month, the number of unemployed increased 48,000 in the euro area.
Unemployment rose 1.507 million persons year-on-year in the euro area.
The Eurozone youth unemployment rate, which applies to those under 25 years of age, slid marginally to 17.3 percent in February from 17.4 percent in January.
The corresponding figure for the EU eased to 17.2 percent from 17.4 percent a month ago.
Data released earlier in the day showed that Italy’s jobless rate declined to 10.2 percent in February from 10.3 percent in January.
Spain’s labor ministry said the number of unemployed logged its third largest decline on record in March. Unemployment fell by 59,149 in March or 1.48 percent from the previous month.