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For the first time since statistics for the present 27 members of the EU have been collected the average unemployment rate for men is higher than that for women. This is thought to be because the economic slump has hit male-dominated sectors such as construction and manufacturing particularly hard. Although there are far fewer females in jobs (58.7% of women are employed compared to 71% of men) this is because many women are not available for work due to family responsibilities etc. Among people participating in the labour market male unemployment stood at 9.6% last December, the last month when figures for all countries are available, while the female rate was 9.2%. This is perhaps cold comfort for women as overall joblessness continues to rise: another seven million people are on the dole in the EU compared to Spring 2008 and the percentage has increased by two points since December 2008. Youth rates are even worse having risen by 4.5%. Worst off are Spain and Latvia while Austria and the Netherlands recorded the lowest figures.
Businesses invest less even as profits recover
After a catastrophic fall in profits, wages and taxes paid by private companies in the EU over the last two years, there are signs that profits, at least, are now recovering. As surpluses increase following the financial meltdown a greater share is going to remunerate shareholders while salaries remain flat. Investment by businesses, however, continues to decline both inside and outside the euro-zone.
Investment rate of non-financial corporations ––––––– | | ––– profit share of non-financial corporations