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Using figures published by Eurostat, the bloc’s statistics division, and the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) last month, Facts4EU compared jobless totals in Britain with those of major EU countries, as well as the EU-wide average, and the monetary union, of which 19 EU member states are members. The UK’s current unemployment rate of 4.9 percent compares favourably with that of France (eight percent), Italy (10.2 percent), Greece (15.8 percent) and Spain (16.1 percent).
The unemployment rate in the EU27 currently stands at 7.5 percent, meaning EU citizens are more than 50 percent more likely to be on the dole.
Within the eurozone, the situation is even worse, with unemployment at 8.3 percent, meaning citizens of its member states are almost 70 percent more likely to be without a job.
Facts4EU spokeswoman David Evans said: “During the EU Referendum campaign in 2016, FactsEU.Org repeatedly pointed out the poor performance of the EU when it comes to unemployment.
“We did this in the face of the then Chancellor George Osborne and the then Prime Minister David Cameron seeking to scare the voting public with wild claims of immediate job losses in the UK of up to 820,000 in the event of a vote to Leave the European Union.”
Mr Evans said: “It must be noted that these claims were immediate job losses – they were supposed to be the result of the vote, not even the effect of the UK leaving the EU some time later.”
In reality, the number of people in jobs following the Brexit vote rose significantly, Mr Evans pointed out.
He added: “This was yet another nail in the coffin for Project Fear.
“No-one apologised for misleading the public in such a grotesque fashion – not the mandarins in HM Treasury (who concocted the wild figures), nor the Chancellor, nor the Prime Minister.”
Referring to the referendum, Mr Evans said: “Back in early 2016 we were all being told that poor little Britain couldn’t survive as an independent country in the big, nasty world out there.
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“Unless we were part of the great EU empire we would wither and perish.
“The truth is the opposite and the facts have proved that.
“Not only that, but Brexit Britain is set to outperform the EU bloc this year on almost every important measure.”
In total, 13.671 million people were out of work in the 19 countries sharing the euro in December the most recent figures available, up from 13.616 million in November.
Speaking last month, Bert Colijn, eurozone economist at ING bank, said: “The unemployment rate now shows a tiny second wave effect as January is now reported to have seen a small tick up in unemployment from 8.2 to 8.3 percent.
“While the curve has changed a bit, it hardly changes the picture.
“Given the contraction in activity and the long closures of certain sectors, the second wave labour market impact remains mild.
He added: “How the labour market performs when the economic rebound starts remains a big question.
“A quick bounce back is unlikely given how employment usually recovers from a recession but also because furlough schemes still need to be wound down.”
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