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Falling unemployment rates in UNECE countries

Unemployment rates generally fell in 2017 compared to the previous year in the UNECE member countries. In many countries, unemployment has come down close to the level before the global financial crisis in 2007-2009, but not in all.

In eight countries - Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Spain - the unemployment rate more than tripled during the period from 2007 to 2013. After a sharp increase in the wake of the economic crisis, all these countries have since experienced declining trends in unemployment rates.

In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Iceland the unemployment rate peaked early, in 2010.  However, in Cyprus, Greece, and Spain the rate continued to increase and reached a maximum in 2013-2014. In these three countries, the 2017 unemployment rates were still double or triple compared to the lowest level before the crisis. In Ireland, the unemployment rate began to rise slowly after the financial crisis and peaked in 2012, setting it slightly apart from the other countries.

In the countries where the unemployment rate peaked early, including Ireland, during the crisis unemployment increased faster and peaked higher for males than for females. As the decline in recent years has been faster for males, the gender unemployment gap is closing again towards pre-crisis levels. In the countries that peaked in 2013-2014, unemployment rates were higher for females than for males before as well as after the crisis. In Spain and Cyprus, the unemployment rates increased faster for males than for females. In Cyprus, they even surpassed female rates during the peak years. In Greece, the gender gap was highest and it persisted during the crisis.