Unemployment in the 28 member Eurozone has trended down to a 3 and a half year low. For the 19 countries that use the Euro currency the rate is 10.9%, for the wider European Union, which includes for example the UK, the rate is 9.5% .
But the average hides the uneven spread between countries - Germany ticking along with 4.7% unemployment while at the other extreme Spain (22%) and Greece (25%) struggle. Within countries again there is an uneven spread - youth being particularly hard hit by fewer job opportunities (for example in Spain youth unemployment is 48.6%). A common currency setting cannot suit the needs of all member countries.
Investment thoughts - despite the continuing volatility in markets we continue to favour European equities. Valuations are fair and Europe has seen 9 straight quarters of economic expansion - growth is slow but accelerating. We continue to remain overweight European equities.
(Note at 30 June New Zealand unemployment is 5.90% - similar to Luxembourg, Austria and Estonia - which are all doing very well relative to most of the EU) .