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Eurozone unemployment reaches highest level in currency's history

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the eurozone was 10.9 per cent in March – up by 1pc in twelve months.

Dole queues are getting longer throughout the Eurozone, new figures show.
Dole queues are getting longer throughout the Eurozone, new figures show.
Image: Photocall Ireland

UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE Euro area has reached its highest since the currency was formed, according to data published by Eurostat this morning.

The figures show unemployment to have reached 10.9 per cent in March, a full 1 per cent higher than it had been in the same month in 2011, and up by 0.1 per cent in the last month.

Eurostat estimated that 17,365,000 people in the 17-member currency bloc were unemployed in march, an increase of 169,000 on February. Unemployment is up by 2,123,000 in the last 12 months.

Within the entire 27-member EU, unemployment stands at 10.2 per cent, unchanged from February, and up from 9.4 per cent a year ago.

Spain has the highest unemployment rate, at 24.1 per cent, ahead of Greece at 21.7 per cent. Portugal’s unemployment is 15.3 per cent, while Ireland has the fourth-highest rate at 14.5 per cent in March.

Among the countries with the lowest rates at Austria (4.0 per cent), the Netherlands (5.0 per cent), Luxembourg (5.2 per cent), and Germany (5.6 per cent).

There are now 5,516,000 people under the age of 25 who are unemployed in the EU, of whom 3,345,000 are in the eurozone. Spain’s youth unemployment stands at 51.1 per cent, compared to Germany, whose 7.9 per cent is the lowest in the Union.

In March 2012, the unemployment rate was 8.2% in the USA. In February 2012 it was 4.5% in Japan.

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Gavan Reilly

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