Unemployment has been declining steadily for two to three years in Denmark, the UK, Spain and Finland. In recent months it has also been coming down in Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal. But rates are noticeably higher than a year ago in Germany (8.9 per cent this July compared to 8.1 per cent last year) and France (11.7 per cent versus 11.2 per cent).
There were 17.9 million unemployed in the EU in June. The pan- European unemployment rate edged down to 10.7 per cent in July from 10.9 per cent in March, returning to the same level as a year earlier.