Europe’s falling unemployment masks a rise in the number of people who’ve given up on finding work
Labor ▶ Some working-age Europeans have rarely, if ever, held jobs ▶ “After so many years, I cannot sell myself in any way”
Europeans finally seem to be going back to work: Euro zone unemployment has fallen from 11.9 percent to 10.3 percent over the past two years. But those figures mask a rise in the number of jobless Europeans who have given up looking for work, and thus aren’t officially counted among the unemployed.
About 4.6 percent of working-age people—11.4 million in the 19-nation single- currency bloc— say they are “available to work but not seeking” a job. That’s up slightly from the same period in 2013, according to the European Union’s statistics agency.
Typically during periods of economic recovery, the number of socalled discouraged workers declines as people resume looking for jobs. In the U. S., some 1.8 million say they want to work but aren’t looking, down from 2.5 million in 2010. But in Italy and France, as well as some smaller economies, the ranks of the discouraged are growing even as unemployment inches down. The problem is worst in Italy, where an estimated 4.5 million have quit job-hunting and outnumber the 2.7 million officially unemployed.
In Italy and elsewhere, years