Twenty Numbers From Europe that Should Have You Very Worried

By Russell Huntley (via e-mail)

#1 The unemployment rate in France has surged to 10.6 percent, and the number of jobless claims in that country recently set a new all-time record.

#2 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole is sitting at an all-time record of 12 percent.

#3 Two years ago, Portugal’s unemployment rate was about 12 percent.  Today, it is about 17 percent.

#4 The unemployment rate in Spain has set a new all-time record of 27 percent.  Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States never had unemployment that high.

#5 The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 in Spain is an astounding 57.2 percent.

#6 The unemployment rate in Greece has set a new all-time record of 27.2 percent.  Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States never had unemployment that high.

#7 The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 in Greece is a whopping 59.3 percent.

#8 French car sales in March were 16 percent lower than they were one year earlier.

#9 German car sales in March were 17 percent lower than they were one year earlier.

#10 In the Netherlands, consumer debt is now up to about 250 percent of available income.

#11 Industrial production in Italy has fallen by an astounding 25 percent over the past five years.

#12 The number of Spanish firms filing for bankruptcy is 45 percent higher than it was a year ago.

#13 Since 2007, the value of non-performing loans in Europe has increased by 150 percent.

#14 Bank withdrawals in Cyprus during the month of March were double what they were in February even though the banks were closed for half the month.

#15 Due to an absolutely crippling housing crash, there are approximately 3 million vacant homes in Spain today.

#16 Things have gotten so bad in Spain that entire apartment buildings are being overwhelmed by squatters

A 285-unit apartment complex in Parla, less than half an hour’s drive from Madrid, should be an ideal target for investors seeking cheap property in Spain. Unfortunately, two thirds of the building generates zero revenue because it’s overrun by squatters.

“This is happening all over the country,” said Jose Maria Fraile, the town’s mayor, who estimates only 100 apartments in the block built for the council have rental contracts, and not all of those tenants are paying either. “People lost their jobs, they can’t pay mortgages or rent so they lost their homes and this has produced a tide of squatters.”

#17 As I wrote the other day, child hunger has become so rampant in Greece that teachers are reporting that hungry children are begging their classmates for food.

#18 The debt-to-GDP ratio in Italy is now up to 136 percent.

#19 25 percent of all banking assets in the UK are in banks that are leveraged at least 40 to 1.

#20 German banking giant Deutsche Bank has more than 55 trillion euros (which is more than 72 trillion dollars) of exposure to derivatives.  But the GDP of Germany for an entire year is only about 2.7 trillion euros.

25 responses to “Twenty Numbers From Europe that Should Have You Very Worried

  1. Meanwhile, the rich are getting richer.

  2. That is why i am actually looking for a job in Russian Federation.
    We (the italian people, i mean) are come back in the 50s, after WWII, when our parents and grandparents were forced to emigrate in North Europe or in South and North America.
    Thank you, Euro-Technocrats… really really thank you!

    P.S. I hope you can feel the sadness and the anger o this comment… because that’s what we’re experiencing.

  3. Sunflowerbio

    But all of these numbers are from Europe, which doesn’t have a thing to do with us, so why worry?

    • Austerity is class warfare. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

    • So why worry? About half of what your miserable export trade is still bought by Europe. Most of your remaining exports can be replaced from other sources. When the European market fails to buy, just what and where do you think there will be a market for those exports? By all means, do whatever you think you must to cut your exports by a quarter, a third or maybe even a half. Do you think the dollar will last long as the worlds reserve currency under those conditions? Do you suppose your trading partners will continue sending you their products and commodities for mere dollars that have become useless on the world’s markets? Continue doing an Alfred E. Newman impression or go figure it out, you seem bright enough.

      • T-Bear, you are mistaken. There could be huge disruptions and if not handled correctly cause a lot of woe. But, fundamentally the US needs to import oil and not much else (we could be energy independent as well, if we started burning uranium and thorium, although it would be difficult to do quickly). In the 1960’s trade made up a very small percentage of the US economy. That could happen again if necessary. For good or ill the US Dollar as a reserve currency will continue. What is it going to be replaced by? … the Euro. Not likely. We are more and more tied to China and that will probably grow. Eventually they will tire of stacking up dollars at the Fed and buy something. So, if Europe decides to commit suicide it is not the end of the rest of the world. Hopefully it won’t go that far.

    • Why worry? As if our inter-connectedness to the rest of humanity in general and of our economic fortunes in particular doesn’t mean anything? As if we are a self-sustaining hubris-filled economic island that cannot be bothered by the suffering of others?

      Yes indeed, why worry?

    • charles fasola

      I hope that is not a serious comment?

    • golfer1john


      You need to learn your smilicons 😉

      Or say “Bazinga”.

    • Iowa Housewife Chuckles

      Made me laugh, Sunflower. (But, yes, what golferjohn said – these days you might want to remind people to plug in their sarcasm detectors before you quip funny like that.)

    • sunflowerbio

      Sorry to raise some blood pressure readings so much. I thought the sarcasm was obvious enough to dispense with any warnings, but maybe we’re all on edge a little too much given the seriousness of the situation. A good laugh can do wonders to counter the gloom, if only for a moment. Thanks Housewife for making the point.

      • Iowa Housewife Adds

        Quite welcome, Sun – though I just echoed golferjohn. I want to add that those who took your words at face value actually warm the cockles of my heart. As you might guess from my ‘worries’ comment below, I remain in a constant state of gobsmacked wonder at how this species can be in general so utterly relaxed in the face of what’s going on all around us. Those who ‘scolded you’ showed a far more appropriate response than the general public manages. So sincere thanks to them for grokking, and publically reinforcing, the vital truth that everything (in economics as in life) is pen-ultimately separated, ultimately inseparable, interconnected.

        There’s just the one boat, and we’re all in it together. Nice to be here with people who realize that.

        • sunflowerbio

          I was referring to your “Worries” post. Good points in this one also. Welcome aboard and thanks for rowing along.

      • I also got the sarcasm, but, sad to say, a great many of our fellow citizens here in the Imperial Homeland would think that way, for real.


    “Too often writers conceive of class struggle as actions taken by workers for working class interest, overlooking the equally significant (and in our epoch even more important) class struggle organized and directed by the ruling classes via the state.

    The entire panoply of neo-liberal policies, from so-called ‘austerity measures’ to mass firings of public and private employees, to massive transfers of wealth to creditors are designed to enhance the power, wealth and primacy of diverse sectors of capitol at the expense of labor. To paraphrase Marx: class struggle from above is the motor force to reverse history – to seize and destroy the advances secured by workers from previous class struggles from below.

    Class struggle from above and the outside is waged in boardrooms, stock markets, Central Banks, executive branches of government, parliaments and Congresses. Decision makers are drawn from the ruling class and are ‘in their confidence’. Most strategic decisions are taken by non-elected officials and increasingly located in financial institutions (like the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the European Commission) acting on behalf of creditors, bondholders and big banks.

    Class struggle from above is directed at enhancing the concentration of wealth in the ruling class, increasing regressive taxes on workers and reducing taxes on corporations, selectively enforcing regulations, which facilitate financial speculation and lowering social expenditures for pensions, health and education for workers families. In addition, class struggle from above is directed at maximizing the collective power of capital via restrictive laws on labor organizations, social movements and public workers’ collective bargaining rights.”

    • charles fasola

      The wonders of so-called “free market capitalism” and worse than that globalization and globalized trade. You all accepted what you were told was the benefits without so much as a wimper. You all were sucked in. Now until you get off of your asses and put yourself and your comfortable Amerikan lifestyles on the line your part of the race to the bottom that has resulted from those policies. America the Timid.

  5. Iowa Housewife Worries

    Urgent to the Federation of Galactic Councils

    Re: Survival of planet Earth, solar system ExB213, galaxy MaDas/5

    Situation critical; very close to destruction; request immediate intervention; inequity factor is 1,000,000,000 [one billion] and rising; most powerful species is victim of bigpicture blindness; cannot see the overall situation; this species has technology and weapons capable of destroying entire planet 60 times over; please send emergency response team ASAP; code 10; need equipment for disabling uranium-based bombs; repeat: extreme inequity already at giga-critical point, continues increasing exponentially, driving violence to infinity; planet could burn at any moment; dominant species is full of self-contradictions, has very confused and imperfect ideas about work and wealth; self-destruction is rampant since reward and sacrifice were divorced; species lacks conscious perception of value of fairpay justice and of connection of injustice and violence; recommend you send 1000 indestructible teachers; species has driven itself mad; appears unable to overcome inertia; obedience to custom and convention is solidified; submission to accepted ideas is extreme; sense of alarm at situation is extremely slight; recommend extreme caution; planet is worth saving, has some interesting lifeforms

      • Iowa Housewife Proofreads

        psst psst, Ming – you have a typo on your ‘about our company’ page. You meant ‘one-of’ to be ‘one-off’, in the very last sentence. (And yes, grin grin, now I have taken tidying up my world altogether too far, I know, I know.)

  6. Ready for take off any time now. It’s called expansionary austerity. Thanks for the stats. I will link them.

  7. It won’t be too long now and you can start posting U.S. numbers here. Just wait for the grand bargain to kick in. Otherwise,it may take a little longer. Unemployment anyone?

    • reserveporto

      S-B really are B-S.

    • Iowa Housewife Shares

      I’ve heard the suggestion going around that we all start calling it ‘forced dis-employment’ as that term is more accurate than ‘unemployment’. Personally, I think it a good idea. Maybe even better would be ‘forced dis-employment by means of expansionary austerity’ – but maybe that’s a bit too long for a pass-around bumper-sticker.

      btw, if u like stats, Jonf, here are some USA and global facts I’ve been sharing for years now (so they’re a bit dated – but still make the point, imo).

      7 out of 10 of the world’s hungry are women and girls.

      Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, receive 10% of the world’s income, and own 1% of the means of production.

      Women make up 60% of the world’s working poor; people who work but do not get paid enough to lift themselves above the $1 per day poverty line.

      Elderly women are 70% more likely to be poor than elderly men.

      Women account for 64% of minimum-wage workers in the USA.

      Women in the USA get paid 77 cents for every $1 paid to a man in 2005. In the developing world, it’s 73 cents. Even worse, of course, for women of color: Black women, it’s 63 cents. For Latinas, it’s 53 cents.

      Of the 37 million people living below the poverty line in the USA, 21 million are women.

      More than two-thirds of the world’s unpaid work is done by women – the equivalent of $11 trillion or almost 50% of world GDP.

      In many regions women provide 70% of agricultural labor and produce over 90% of food.

      The women of Africa walk the equivalent of a trip to the moon and back 16 times a day to supply their households with water.

      Two-thirds of children denied primary education are girls.

      Global average proportion of women in Parliament is just 17%. The USA ranks 67th with a mere 16%.

      Over the past decade, women’s work has contributed more to global growth than has China.

      Want more? Go here:

      Meanwhile, the top nine richest men in the USA have money that rakes in (with no work done at all) $150.00 per second every second of their lives, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
      Want more? Go here (and sign up for Monday emails Sam Pizzigati offers):

  8. The saddest number is 17: The children so hungry that they beg from their classmates. I cry at the image! The Euro technocrats have a lot to answer for. Where is your humanity? Where is your empathy? Would you let your own children starve in order to fulfill the austerity mandate? My god, we have reached such lows in the world that it is hard to imagine going any lower!

    We must remember some names to pillage later: Draghi, Blankfein, Dimon, Fuld, Mozilla, and every single banker that ran a TBTF bank and now insists on having the bank’s “debts” paid back even if starving the children is necessary to do so. The banks have become ravenous beasts whose cannibalistic maws cannot ever be filled. Where is the dragonslayer?

  9. reserveporto

    Year to date, the S&P 500 is up ~13%. Average corporate bond yields are down under 5.5%. Apple recently issued 17 billion $ worth of bonds. The favoured choice of stock is that issued by companies known to reliably issue dividends.
    Ok. We know that rising prices cause increased investment. The past decade saw a boom in commodities, that led to a boom in mining and energy production, and, now, the boom is passing and commodities prices are falling. Clearly, all these increasing stock valuations must lead to investment in “something”, but what? Corporate managers need to spend this money. Sitting on it is a sure path to being swept aside by more inventive competitors who also have access to it. So, they’ll have to find projects to spend it on where they think demand might exist.
    I suppose one thing might be financial products related to these stocks and bonds. Ah well, I’m no analyst.