As unemployment rates in euro area soar, Germany becomes a popular destination for immigrants in Europe
Unemployment rates in the European Union are soaring. Due to the lasting economic recession, more and more people, especially in the Southern Europe, are left without jobs. According to the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat, the average unemployment rate in the 17 member countries of the euro area has reached 12,2% in April 2013. More than 19 million people are currently jobless, which means that the number of the unemployed has raised by 95000 compared to the previous month and by 1,63 million compared to April 2012.
Southern European countries suffer most
The Southern European countries which have to take strict austerity measures are particularly hard hit by the ongoing recession. The unemployment rates in Greece (27% in February), Spain (26,8%) and Portugal (17,8%) are the highest in the euro area. Young people are especially vulnerable: more than 62% of young Greeks under 25 as well as 56,4% of young Spaniards and about 40% of young people in Portugal and Italy are out of work.
Germany enjoys lowest unemployment rates
Germany, on the other hand, is on top of the list along with Austria and Luxembourg. Only 5,4% of Germany’s overall population and 7,5% of young people under 25 are currently unemployed.
The following chart shows development of unemployment rates in three euro area countries with best and worst rates respectively as well as average unemployment rates in the 17 euro area countries.
As you can see in the chart below, the unemployment problem in the Southern Europe is not exactly new. Southern European countries most affected by the crisis have been struggling with the skyrocketing unemployment since the end of 2007. At the same time, unemployment in Germany kept going down in a pretty stable manner.
You can get the raw data for all EU countries here.
Immigrants from the European Union rush to Germany
No wonder that, finding no employment opportunities in their home countries, many Southern Europeans move to Germany in search of a better life. Germany, which enjoys one of the highest employment rates in the European Union, has become a center of attraction for thousand of immigrants. In the last 10 years, Germany could not only boast with relatively low unemployment rate in comparison to other euro area states, but has also topped the list of migration destinations in the European Union and in the euro area in particular.
Here’s an overview of migration flows for 17 countries of the euro area for 2010 created with the help of GedViz visualisation tool. This is the latest data available from the OECD Migration Database. As you can see on the graphic below, more than half a million persons migrated to Germany from across the world in 2010. Among the migrants arriving from the euro area countries, there were about 24000 people from Italy, 12000 migrants from Greece and 11000 migrants from Spain. 6500 migrants arrived from Portugal and 8600 migrants were from Slovakia which at that time had an unemployment rate of 14,4%.
2012, the trend not only stayed intact, but was even further reinforced by the growing number of immigrants from the European Union member countries. According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, 1081000 people immigrated to Germany in 2012. This ist he highest inflow of immigrants since 1995.
The most significant increase of immigrants came from the European Union member countries, 96 000 people more than 2011. That is an increase of 18%. Countries suffering most from the European debt crisis contributed most to the inflow of immigrants to Germany. Thus, 9000 more people came from Spain, 10000 more immigrants arrived from Greece, 4000 more from Portugal and 12000 more from Italy. In all cases, that is an increase of 40-45% in comparison to 2011.
Population increase in Germany due to higher immigration inflow
Today, a total of 10,7 million migrants from 194 countries live in Germany, according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. The majority of immigrants (7,4 million) are from European countries and just under half of these come from European Union member states. Due to a high immigration inflow to the country, the population in Germany has increased last year with about 82 million people living in Germany at the end of 2012. That means a population increase for the second year in a row after eight years of decrease. Also, that would be the first time since 1995 that the flow of immigrants has exceeded population outflow by more than 300 000 persons.
Germany is benefiting from the migration flow. For example, migrants from other EU countries are on average 10 years younger than Germans and enjoy a better professional qualification. To make the country more attractive for qualified immigrants, a number of new initiatives have been launched, such as welcome centers for the newcomers.
In the meantime, as employment perspectives for young and well-qualified Europeans outside of Germany stay unclear, the country may well retain its status of the immigration paradise, regardless of the bureaucratic barriers immigrants face when moving to Germany.
by Natalia Karbasova