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Unemployment in Ireland soars to second highest in EU-15 countries

IRELAND has moved from having the second lowest unemployment rate among the EU-15 countries two years ago to the second highest, calculations from the OECD show.

Joblessness has risen faster in Ireland than anywhere else, reflecting the sudden collapse of the building boom.

The 11.7pc rate recorded for May is 85pc higher than the average for last year.

Among OECD countries, Ireland is followed by Spain, with a 64pc increase, and the USA, where the jobless rate is 62pc higher than a year ago.

Across the 30-nation OECD, unemployment rose above 8pc in May, reaching 8.3pc, compared with less than 6pc a year ago.

The calculations allow for different methods of measuring unemployment in different countries to try to get comparable rates.

In the euro area, the unemployment rate was 9.5pc in May 2009, up from 7.4pc a year ago. France was almost at this average, with unemployment of 9.3pc, up 22pc on last year.

German unemployment has risen more slowly, with a 0.3 percentage point increase over the year to 7.7pc.

British data is available only until March, when unemployment was 7.2pc, which was a 38pc increase in the jobless number compared with a year earlier.


Spain's 18.5pc rate is the highest in the OECD. Two years ago, it was just 8.5pc, but the rise in Irish unemployment, from 4.5pc in 2007, is even steeper.

A couple of EU countries continue to have very low unemployment, despite the economic crisis.

The Netherlands recorded a 3.2pc rate in May, while Austria's was put at 4.3pc.

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