Eurozone unemployment rises to new record

Eurozone unemployment rises to new record

BRUSSELS — Unemployment in the 17-country eurozone rose to a record 11.6 percent in September, official figures showed Wednesday, in another grim development for a region that is struggling to get to grips with a three-year debt crisis.

By (AP)

Published: Wed 31 Oct 2012, 6:01 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:50 AM

The rate reported by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, is up from an upwardly-revised 11.5 percent in August. In total, 18.49 million people were out of work in the eurozone in September, up 146,000 on the previous month.

While the eurozone’s unemployment rate has been rising steadily for the past year as its economy struggled, the United States has seen its equivalent rate fall to 7.8 percent. The latest US figures are due this Friday.

Five countries in the eurozone are already in recession — Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Cyprus. The region as a whole is expected to be confirmed to be in recession when the first estimate of eurozone economic activity in the third quarter is published mid-November — a recession is officially confirmed after two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Spain was in the ignominious position of having the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, at 25.8 percent. However, Greece was not far behind at 25.1 percent, though its figure relates to July.

Both countries, which are at the epicenter of Europe’s three-year debt crisis, have youth unemployment above 50 percent.

The lowest unemployment rate in the eurozone was Austria’s 4.4 percent. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has a jobless rate of only 5.4 percent.

Separately, Eurostat reported that inflation in the eurozone fell modestly to 2.5 percent in the year to October, from the previous month’s 2.6 percent. Inflation is still above the European Central Bank’s target of keeping price rises just below 2 percent.

Above-target inflation has not prevented the ECB cutting its key interest rate to a record low of 0.75 percent, but few economists think the bank will lower borrowing costs at next Thursday’s monthly meeting.

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