The EU28 unemployment rate was 8.8 percent in March 2016, down from 8.9 percent in February 2016, and from 9.7 percent in March 2015. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 for seven years, since April 2009. Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates in March 2016 were recorded in the Czech Republic (4.1 percent) and Germany (4.2 percent). The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (24.4 percent in January 2016) and Spain (20.4 percent).
Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in March 2016 fell in twenty-five Member States and increased in Austria (from 5.6 percent to 5.8 percent), Latvia (from 9.8 percent to 9.9 percent) and Finland (from 9.2 percent to 9.3 percent). The largest decreases were registered in Cyprus (from 16.2 percent to 12.1 percent), Bulgaria (from 10.0 percent to 7.3 percent) and Spain (from 23 percent to 20.4 percent).
21.419 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 16.437 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in March 2016. Compared with February 2016, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 250 000 in the EU28 and by 226 000 in the euro area. Compared with March 2015, unemployment fell by 2.091 million in the EU28 and by 1.477 million in the euro area.
4.287 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 2.936 million were in the euro area. Compared with March 2015, youth unemployment decreased by 498 000 in the EU28 and by 286 000 in the euro area. In March 2016, the youth unemployment rate was 19.1 percent in the EU28 and 21.2 percent in the euro area, compared with 20.9 percent and 22.7 percent respectively in March 2015. In March 2016, the lowest rates were observed in Germany (6.9 percent), the Czech Republic and Malta (both 9.8 percent), and the highest in Greece (51.9 percent in January 2016), Spain (45.5 percent), Croatia (39 percent in the first quarter 2016) and Italy (36.7 percent).