May 18, 2013
Euro zone unemployment hits record high
Euro zone unemployment has hit a record high, and job losses are likely to keep climbing as the bloc's devastating debt crisis eats away at businesses' ability to hire workers while indebted governments continue to cut staff.
Around 17.4 million people were out of work in the 17-nation euro zone in April, or 11 percent of the working population, the highest level since records began in 1995, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said today.
Although April's joblessness level was the same as March, as Eurostat revised upwards its earlier reading of 10.9 percent for the month, another 110,000 people were out of work in April and the jobless rate has risen every month over the past year.
While unemployment fell in Austria to just 3.9 percent in April, it rose to 24.3 percent in Spain, the highest in the euro zone. New data for stricken Greece was not immediately available, having reached 21.7 percent in February.
The number of people out of work also crept up in both France and Italy to 10.2 percent in April, the euro zone's second- and third-largest economies respectively.
Joblessness in Germany fell to 5.4 percent of the working population from 5.5 percent in March, although economists say given the weakening business sentiment, even Europe's largest economy cannot expect unemployment to fall much further.