Interesting graph which shows the depth of the EU recession compared to the great depression of the 1930s.
UK recession compared
This graph is from the start of 2013. Since, then the UK economy is showing signs of picking up. But, it is still worth bearing in mind the length of the decline in GDP since the start of the recession.
For the first 15 months, the decline in real GDP is comparable to the great depression of the 1930s. The great depression shows a bigger fall in GDP (-8.0%) from peak. But, during the 2008- recession, GDP stagnated the longest.
European Unemployment in the 1930s compared to today
Stats about unemployment in the 1930s are harder to find. Also, unemployment was measured in different ways; for example, today, people on disability allowance are not counted as unemployed, in the 1930s, they may well have been counted as unemployed.
Also, quite significantly, there was much less welfare support for the unemployed in the 1930s. Therefore, unemployment arguably caused even greater economic hardship. Though, that is not to underestimate the economic / social and personal cost of unemployment in the current climate.
The Economist estimates unemployment rates of upto 25% in Europe during the 1930s. (Economist link)
A figure drilled into me in GCSE history was an unemployment rate of 6 million in Germany in 1933.
This BBC article claims unemployment in the UK rose to 25% in 1933 (BBC link) (though I remember seeing figures of around 12% for unemployment in the 1930s in the UK.)
Today’s European unemployment has increased to 12.2%. But, in some countries, such as Spain, it has increased to depression levels of 25%.
Youth Unemployment in Europe
Youth unemployment in several European economies is also worryingly high, with rates of up to 40%. (European unemployment)