For the euro area, this is the highest rate since August 1998.

In December 2009, the unemployment rate in the European Union rose 2% from the same period of 2008, and in the euro area 1.8% YoY.

Eurostat estimates that 23.012 million men and women in the European Union, of whom 15.763 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in December 2009. Compared with November, the number of persons unemployed increased by 163 000 in the European Union and by 87 000 in the euro area.

Compared with December 2008, unemployment went up by 4.628 million in the European Union and by 2.787 million in the euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (4.0%) and Austria (5.4%), and the highest rates in Latvia (22.8%) and Spain (19.5%).

Romania doesn’t report data on the monthly unemployment rates according to International Labour Organization standards, but quarterly data only. For the third quarter of 2009, unemployment rate in Romania was 7.2%

Between December 2008 and December 2009, the unemployment rate for males rose from 7.8% to 10.0% in the euro area and from 7.5% to 9.8% in the European Union. The female unemployment rate increased from 8.7% to 10.1% in the euro area and from 7.9% to 9.3% in the European Union.

In December 2009, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 21.0% in the euro area and 21.4% in the EU27. In December 2008 it was 17.0% and 16.9% respectively.