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”

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - News -

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

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