Eurozone unemployment hits record-high 11.9%

The number of those out of work in the eurozone spiked to 11.9percent in January, up from 11.8 percent the previous month – amarked rise from the previous year. In January 2012, it stood at10.8 percent; nearly 19 million people are now out of work acrossthe eurozone.The EU27 unemployment rate also collectively rose, standing at10.8 percent, a rise from 10.7 percent in the previous month. Some26.2 million are now jobless across Europe, according to figuresreleased in a new Eurostat report made public on Friday.The highest unemployment rate – 26.2 percent – was in Spain,which has recently seen mass anti-austerity protests, some of whichhave turned violent.  The report did not provide updatedfigures for Greece, but as of November, 27 percent of Greek workersare jobless.Large decreases in joblessness were seen in Estonia (11.1percent to 9.9 percent between December 2011 and December 2012),Latvia, Romania and the UK, while the overall lowest unemploymentrates were Austria at 4.9 percent, Germany and Luxembourg at 5.3percent each, and the Netherlands at 6 percent. Denmark’s joblessrate remained unchanged.Wide-scale youth unemploymentLevels of youth unemployment Europe-wide are also at recordlevels: The youth jobless rate in hard-hit Spain was thehighest-ever at 55.5 percent.Overall, youth unemployment stood at 23.6 percent in the EU27 –meaning 5.732 million young workers are unemployed – compared to24.2 percent in January 2012. In the euro area, youth joblessnessrose from 21.9 percent to 22.4 percent, (3.642 million). Economicwoes in Greece, Spain and Italy contributed heavily to thesefigures.Regional labor ministers warned earlier this week that actionneeds to be taken, as joblessness among the under-25s couldpotentially threaten the European Union as an institution.“Europe needs the courage to respond to the major financialand economic crisis that it is experiencing with social andemployment policies that make a real change to people’s working andliving conditions,” the paper said, which was circulated inBrussels earlier this week, according to Reuters.The rate of price increases across the eurozone dropped to 1.8percent in February, placing it below the European Central Bank’starget inflation rate for the first time in more than two years.Inflation stood at 2.0 percent, according to Eurostat, and hasn’tbeen below this level since last November.Low inflation is usually considered a positive sign, meaningprice pressures are contained. However, it can also be reflectiveof the state of consumer demand, which frequently falls duringperiods of high unemployment. Europeans are spending less andsaving more, as they are likely concerned for their jobsecurity.

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Eurozone unemployment hits record-high 11.9%


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