Unemployment tops Europeans' worries: poll

7th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Unemployment is by far the main concern of Europeans, a poll published Monday showed, with Germans and Spaniards topping the list of the continent's worriers.

According to the survey, by the German GfK institute, anxiety over unemployment was the top concern in eight out of 11 European countries surveyed.

Two-thirds of Germans said unemployment was an "urgent issue to be resolved" in the country, and 74 percent of people in Spain. The country least worried about unemployment was the Netherlands, where eight percent expressed concern.

"Overall, people -- and Germans in particular -- are more worried than ever. What is remarkable this year is that the number of concerns expressed has rocketed," said Raimund Wildner, vice-chairman of the institute.

"In fact, I can hardly recall such a quantum leap before, at least not in the past 20 years," added Wildner.

On average, German respondents said they worried about 3.2 issues, more than people in any other countries polled. Other issues on their mind included economic stability, inflation, healthcare, pensions and education.

However, the raw data suggest that Germans have less to worry about than many other countries when it comes to unemployment.

According to the latest Eurostat data, the unemployment rate in April in the 27-member European Union was 9.7 percent, with Germany way below the average, with a rate of 7.1 percent.

At the other end of the scale, Spanish concerns seem more justified, with nearly one in five people in Spain (19.4 percent) without a job in April.

A German government scheme to subsidise shorter working hours so companies did not have to lay off as many workers amid the country's worst post-war recession has spared Germany a sharp spike in the jobless figure.

GfK said the survey was conducted among 13,200 people in 11 countries in February and March.

© 2010 AFP

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