Eurozone unemployment rate remains at record high

Unemployment reached 12.2 per cent in September
By Juergen Baetz
||Last Updated: 10/31/2013

BRUSSELS (AP) — The unemployment rate in the 17-nation eurozone remained at a record high of 12.2 per cent in September as the bloc's nascent recovery failed to generate new jobs, official data showed Thursday.

The number of unemployed rose by 60,000 to 19.45 million, while the jobless rate for those aged under 25 edged up to 24.1 per cent from 24 per cent in August, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency.

The August jobless rate was revised up from 12 per cent. Analysts had widely expected the rate to remain at that level in September, so the new figures show Europe's recovery is still too tepid.

“The latest figures put a dent in hopes that the labour market may have reached a turning point,” said analyst Ben May of Capital Economic.

The unemployment rate for the wider 28-nation European Union, in turn, remained unchanged on the month at 11 per cent, according to Eurostat.

Youth unemployment rates are lowest in Germany and Austria, with 7.7 per cent and 8.7 per cent, and highest in Europe's southern economies, which have been hit hard by the debt crisis and government austerity measures. They were around 57 per cent in Greece and 56 per cent in Spain.

The overall unemployment rate showed similar disparities. Germany and Austria had low rates of 5 per cent. By contrast, joblessness was 26.6 per cent in Spain. In Greece, where the latest figures available were for July, it stood at 27.6 per cent.

The eurozone's economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter compared with the previous three-month period, bringing it out of a recession that saw six straight quarterly declines. But the recovery is expected to be slow.

The European Central Bank's benchmark interest rate stands at a record-low 0.5 per cent and appears likely to stay flat amid a slow recovery and an inflation rate well below its targeted ceiling of 2 per cent, analysts say.

The eurozone's annual inflation rate dropped to 0.7 per cent in October from 1.1 per cent a month earlier, Eurostat said in a separate estimate Thursday.

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