CYPRUS is one of the countries with the highest unemployment rates in the EU, though it is also the country with the greatest reduction in the past year, from 15.3 per cent in May 2015 to 12 per cent in May 2016.
Eurostat figures released on Friday show that of all EU countries, the Czech Republic has had the lowest unemployment rate at 4 per cent in May. The highest seasonally-adjusted rate was recorded for Greece (24.1 per cent), followed by Spain (19.8 per cent), Croatia 13.3 per cent; and Cyprus is in fourth place with 12 per cent.
In comparison, in May 2015, 15.3 per cent were unemployed, or 65,000 people compared to 48,000 this May.
Unemployment was particularly high among young people under 25 in Cyprus and reached 32.9 per cent in 2015. This year it has dropped to 27.9 per cent.
While last year about the same amount of males and females were unemployed in the country (15.4 percent and 15.1 per cent, respectively), this year there has been a shift to more females being unemployed (12.4 per cent) than males (11.5 per cent).
Overall, unemployment has dropped one per cent in Europe, from 9.6 per cent in May 2015 to 8.6 per cent in May 2016. Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in May this year fell in 26 member states, remained stable in Latvia and increased by 0.2 per cent in Austria.
Labour minister Zeta Emilianidou also commented on unemployment rates in Cyprus, saying on Friday that the figure is 11.6 per cent, according to existing data.
Speaking during a visit to the district labour office in Paphos, which had been the target of arson attacks in recent days, the minister expressed her satisfaction at the reduction in unemployment which previously had reached 16 to 17 per cent.
“There is a decrease,” she said, “but as a ministry we are not complacent, as long as there are unemployed people; it is a problem that must constantly be addressed.”