European Commission president José Manuel Barroso and Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaité reading employment reports
Photo: European Commission (October 2013)
Economy: Inflation is down, employment is flat, and business confidence is up in Luxembourg, according to recent reports.
A pair of economic reports issued Tuesday painted a mixed picture for Luxembourg.
The rate of inflation in Luxembourg has dropped by roughly half over the past year, according to Eurostat. The EU statistics agency said consumer prices rose by 0.9% in April, compared to 1.5% last December and 1.7% in April 2013.
Overall inflation was pushed up by higher costs for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, education, and restaurants and hospitality, while prices decreased for communications, transport, and housing and utilities.
The Grand Duchy had the sixth highest rate of inflation in the EU, which experienced consumer price gains of 0.8% across all 28 member states. Romania, the UK and Austria had the highest rates (1.6%); Germany was just ahead of Luxembourg with the sixth highest rate (1.1%); while Belgium had the seventh (0.9%) and France had the ninth (0.8%) highest rates in the EU, Eurostat reported. Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Portugal all experienced deflation.
Employment rate flat
In a separate report, Eurostat said that in April the Grand Duchy had the third lowest unemployment rate in the EU. The jobless figure was 6.1%, a number that has remained flat since the beginning of the year. It was 5.7% in April 2013.
Luxembourg’s unemployment figure in April of this year was only above those for Austria (4.9%) and Germany (5.2%), but below those recorded in the UK (sixth lowest in the EU at 6.6%), Belgium (16th highest at 8.5%) and France (12th highest at 10.4%). It also was lower than the rate recorded in the US (6.3%), Eurostat said.
Greece (26.5% at the end of February), Spain (25.1% in April) had the highest rates in the union. The jobless rate was 10.4% across the entire EU.
Rising economic confidence
Last week, the European Commission said its Economic Sentiment Indicator for Luxembourg was 95.7 points last month, the highest level for more than a year, and up from 91.7 in April and 86.0 for May 2013. Last month’s number is just below the country’s long term average, since 1990, of 100.
Across the EU, the ESI rose 0.2 points to 106.5, the commission said. It surveys thousands of businesses each month to calculate the confidence index.