İrem UZUN -TDO- The European Union's official statistics agency reported on Wednesday unemployment at 6.6 percent in April, up from 6.4 percent in March 2020. About 397.000 people have lost their jobs in the European Union in April, raising the unemployment rate by 0,2 percentage points after most European countries imposed coronavirus containment measures.

Luxembourg-based Eurostat saw a similar rate of increase in the eurozone currency area, a 19-country group, where joblessness rose to 7.3 percent in April, reflecting job losses as coronavirus lockdowns were in full-swing across the single currency region. The jobless rate rose from 7.1% in March, when European countries first implemented lockdown strategies to quell the outbreak that emerged in Italy in late February.

Job losses were not spread evenly across all EU countries. The unemployment rate in Spain, which was hit hard by the coronavirus, increased to 14.8% from 14.2% the previous month. Germany, meanwhile, held its unemployment rate steady at 3.5%. Youth unemployment is acute in some euro zone countries. In Spain, youth unemployment hit 33.2% in April while in Italy, it stood at 20.3% and in France, at 21.8%. Figures for Greece were not available for March or April but are likely to be worse, given that the rate stood at 35.6% in February. Even in Sweden, which did not impose a strict lockdown, the youth unemployment rate hit 24.4% in April.

Eurostat data indicates that Europe has been able to keep a lid on unemployment while battling its worst economic crisis since the 1930s. The European Commission predicts that GDP in the 19 countries that use the euro will contract by 7.75% this year, which is a record.

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