Updated 5.55pm with Government statement
Malta's 3.9 per cent unemployment rate in July was the lowest across the EU's 28 member states, Eurostat figures released today show.
The country's youth unemployment rate, at 7.1 per cent, was also the lowest across EU member states. Youth unemployment is measured as the number of people aged 15 to 24 who are unemployed, as a percentage of the labour force of the same age.
Unemployment across the eurozone stood at 10.1 per cent in July, stable when compared to June but down from 10.8 per cent in July of 2015. In the EU as a whole, the unemployment rate stood at 8.6 per cent. That too was down from July 2015' 9.4 per cent figure.
Malta's rate bested the 4.2 per cent rates in both the Czech Republic and Germany. The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece 23.5 per cent in May 2016, and Spain, where unemployment stood at 19.6 per cent.
In a statement, the Government said a key factor in achieving Malta's historically low unemployment rate were a series of schemes aimed at reducing youth unemployment.
It contrasted Malta's current 3.9 per cent unemployment rate with the 6.5 per cent average achieved by the previous 2008-2013 legislature, which had to deal with the repercussions of the global financial crisis.
Eurostat figures also showed that compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate in July 2016 fell in 24 member states, remained stable in Denmark, and increased in Estonia (from 6.1 per cent to 7.0 per cent between June 2015 and June of this year), Austria (from 5.7 per cent to 6.0 per cent) and Belgium (from 8.1 per cent to 8.3 per cent).
The largest decreases were registered in Cyprus (from 15.0 per cent to 11.6 per cent), Croatia (from 16.5 per cent to 13.2 per cent) and Spain (from 21.9 per cent to 19.6 per cent).