Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Southern regions of the EU have the highest unemployment rates

Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, May 3rd 2022 à 17:55 | Read 880 times

The Top 10 regions of the European Union most affected by unemployment include only Italian, Spanish and Greek regions.

Young people in the Mediterranean regions of the European Union are the most affected by unemployment (Graph: Eurostat)
Young people in the Mediterranean regions of the European Union are the most affected by unemployment (Graph: Eurostat)
EU. The average unemployment rate in the European Union (EU) for those aged 15 to 74 was 7% in 2021, according to Eurostat, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Statistical Information. The Polish region of Warsaw-Capital and the Hungarian region of Central Transdanubia had the lowest rate at 2.1% each. The most affected regions are all in southern EU countries.

Regional labour market data published by Eurostat at the end of April 2022 show that the highest unemployment rates in 2021 were recorded in the Spanish regions of Ceuta (26.6%), the Canary Islands (23.2%) and Andalusia (21.7%). This is followed by Western Macedonia in Greece (19.8%) and two other Spanish regions: Melilla (19.8%) and Extremadura (19.5%). Then Campania (19.3%) and Sicily (18.7%) in Italy, as well as the South Aegean (18.8%) and East Macedonia and Thrace (18.5%) in Greece. All Spanish and Greek regions have an unemployment rate above the EU average. In Southern Europe, only Malta (one region) and Slovenia are below.

"If we compare the unemployment rates between the regions of each country, Spain has the largest gap between its regions, with the highest and lowest unemployment rates in 2021. This gap was 16.8 percentage points (pp). Italy and France follow with gaps of 15.5 pp and 12.1 pp," the study said.

Youth unemployment hits record highs in Southern Europe

This finding is even more edifying for Southern Europe when it comes to youth employment. While the average unemployment rate among 15 to 29 year olds is 13% in the EU, down 0.9% from 2020, the region of Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in Morocco, has reached 56%. It dominates a Top 10 also entirely made up of Southern European regions with Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (45.1%), Western Macedonia (42.3%), another Spanish enclave in Morocco, Melilla (41.9%), Sicily (40.1%), the Canary Islands (39.5%), Central Greece (38.9%), Campania (37.7%), Calabria (37.2%) and Thessaly (36.7%).

The lowest rate in this age group was recorded in Central Moravia (Czech Republic) with 3.7%.

On the other hand, five Greek regions are among the ten largest decreases in one year in the whole of the EU over the fifteen to twenty-nine age group: Ionian Islands (-14.1 points), Epirus (-13.9), Aegean-Northern (11.4), Central Greece (-9.2) and Western Greece (-8.5%). Melilla (-11.2 points), Champagne-Ardennes in France (-9.6), North-West in Bulgaria (-8.6), Centre in Romania (-8.4) and Cantabria in Spain (-8.3) complete the Top 10.

At the same time, the most important progressions also concern Mediterranean regions with those of Molise in Italy (+7.7 points) and Ceuta (+6.7).

In the same section
< >


About is an independent media that deals with the daily economic news of the countries bordering the Mediterranean. Economic cooperation, business news by sector (Industry, Services, Transport, Environment, Society/Institutions), thematic files, airport news, airlines and shipping companies (new destinations)... are treated and analysed by a team of journalists present in the Mediterranean basin. Subscribe to To be the first to know, with unlimited access to all articles. To receive the weekly newsletters and special newsletters sent as soon as our files are published. Automatically renewable subscription, but the reader keeps control of it or yearly subscription. For individuals or professionals...