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Unemployment Rate in Poland – 2018

Last updated on January 16, 2019

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The unemployment rate in Poland has been falling year after year, month after month. According to the Ministry of Family, Work and Political society, in June the unemployment rate in Poland has fallen to 5.9%. This is the lowest rate in 28 years! In this post we show the unemployment rates in European Union based on data provided by Eurostat. Check our cool maps 😉

But how the unemployment rate in Poland compares to other European Union countries?

Color Schema

In the maps shown in this post, the countries were segregated into four groups:

  1. Dark Green – Countries with full employment (jobless rate under 5%)
  2. Light Green – Countries with a better unemployment rate than EU’s average, but still not in full employment
  3. Light Red – Countries  with a worse unemployment rate than EU’s average, but still better than the threshold set for the last group
  4. Dark Red – Countries  with a worse unemployment rate than EU’s average

The groups A and B are separated by 5.0% threshold, below which a country is considered to be in full employment. Groups B and C are separated by the EU average unemployment rate. The threshold that separates groups C and D was calculated in such a way that, groups B and C have the same size.

As an example, for the overall unemployment rate, the EU average is 7.0%. That means that group B has a size of 2 percentage points. This same size is considered for group C, which implies that group C ranges from 7.0% to 9.0%.

The image below illustrates these considerations.

Unemployment Rate in European Union

In order to analyze the unemployment rates across EU, we have checked Eurostat data, as usual. It’s an easy way to get valid data for all European Union countries in a standardized manner.

The average salary in Poland has been increasing throughout the years. We've made a short but complete study about it. Check it out!

As of May of 2018, the unemployment rate in Poland is 3.8% according to Eurostat. This value is even lower than that calculated by the Polish government. In order to analyse the unemployment rate, we have created a couple of maps with different shades of red and green, as it was explained in the previous section.

Attention: Majority of the data is from May 2018, except for:

  • Estonia – April 2018;
  • Greece – March 2018;
  • Hungary – April 2018;
  • United Kingdom – March 2018.

On the map below, you can see the overall unemployment rate across European Union countries. The values are in percentage (%).

Map of unemployment rate across European Union

The situation is worse both in Spain and Greece, while the centre-eastern European countries have, in general, lower unemployment rates. The Nordic countries also show lower unemployment rates.

Poland, actually, is one of the countries with the lowest unemployment rate in the EU, as it’s shown in the graph below. Note that EA19 stands for the 19 countries that form the Euro Area, while EU28 concerns the 28 countries that are part of the European Union.

Bar graph of unemployment rate across European Union
Overall unemployment rates in European Union

Poland is the 5th country with the lowest overall unemployment rate on our list (4th in the EU)!

But well, this is just one side of it.

Another important aspect of unemployment is: how is unemployment affecting young people?

Youth Unemployment Rate in European Union

In some countries, young people finish the university and when it’s finally time to join the job market and start living off by their own means…..


There are no jobs. The situation of the job market can be even worse for less skilled young people.

On the map below, we can see what is the current situation regarding unemployment for people under 25 years.

Map of youth unemployment rate across European Union

In general, the unemployment rates for young people are higher than the overall values.

Once again, Spain and Greece are featured as the countries with the highest unemployment rates, this time considering young people under 25 years.

The surprise here is Italy, in which the overall unemployment rate was of 10.7%, but the youth unemployment rate jumps up to an incredible 31.9%, three times bigger!

For those countries, this is a sad reality. If you as a young person cannot find a job in your home country, what would you do? One of the options is for you to simply look for opportunities in other countries.

This is the workforce that would be generating wealth for the country in the next decades, and, in ageing countries, this might be particularly dangerous for the economy’s future. Many might return to their country when the situation gets better, but many will think twice about it since they cannot be sure if the better situation is everlasting.

In this second map, we can also see that central European countries have a better situation for young people when we consider unemployment rates. Poland is not doing bad, but there is still room for improvement, especially when we consider its eastern neighbours.

In the first analysis, Poland was in the top 5 countries with the lowest unemployment rates. In this second case, it falls to 12th, as shown in the rank below.

Bar graph of youth unemployment rate across European Union
Youth unemployment rates in European Union

Surprisingly, the country with the lowest rate is Malta, which was in the 7th place in the previous analysis. Germany, on the other hand, stayed on the 2nd place in both analyses.

Gender Unemployment Rate

in European Union

This next analysis takes into account the unemployment rate for men and women. No surprise that Greece, Spain and Italy have the worst unemployment rates for both genders. But more than that, the gap between male and female unemployment is also greater for those countries.

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The bar chart below shows the gender gap for the unemployment rate. The values were calculated as shown below:

Gender gap = (Female Unemployment Rate) – (Male Unemployment Rate)

A negative gender gap means that the unemployment rate for women is higher than for men. A positive gender gap value means the opposite, a higher unemployment rate for men. This is a simple way of measuring how unemployment is affecting both genders.

Bar chart of gender gap for unemployment rate
Unemployment gender gap in European Union

Greece, Spain and Italy are the countries with the most negative gender gaps. In these countries, the unemployment rates for women are higher than for men. On the other extreme, Lithuania is the country with the biggest positive gender gap.

Under this perspective, the most gender-equal countries are Finland and Ireland, for which the gender gap is only +/- 0.1. Poland scored well in this index since its gender gap is only -0.6. European Union as a whole shows a gender gap which is between -1% and +1 %, as it’s shown by EU28’s value.

EU Unemployment Rate Over the Past 15 Years

Over the past 15 years, the unemployment rate in the EU has oscillated from values around 7% to values around 11%. After the crisis in 2008, the unemployment rates increased and reached their maximum point by the middle of 2013. Since then, the rates have continuously decreased.

The graph below shows the overall unemployment rate over the past 15 years. It presents data for both Euro Area (EA) and European Union (EU) countries.

Timeline of unemployment rate in European Union and Euro Area
Unemployment rate over the past 15 years in European Union

In the same way, it’s interesting to see how the youth unemployment rate (people under 25 years) has changed over the same period. The line graph below shows this further analysis.

Both overall and youth unemployment rate show the same patterns. A minimum unemployment rate just before 2008 crisis, than it climbs up until mid-2013, and since then it has been decreasing.

As it was expected from the previous analyses, the magnitude of the youth unemployment rate is way higher. On average, the unemployment rate for young people is more than twice the rate for the overall EU population.

Timeline of youth unemployment rate in European Union and Euro Area from 2003 to 2018
Youth unemployment rate over the past 15 years in European Union

All in all, the employment situation in Poland is getting better and better, just like other economic indexes, such as minimum wage.

But not only Poland is improving its economic indexes. As it was shown, the European Union as a whole has also presented an improvement in the unemployment rates. This trend has been going on for more than 5 years now.

In the current situation, the employee has each time more power of negotiation since the number of professionals available in the job market is continuously reducing.

Make sure you play this card properly in your next salary negotiation  😉

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