EU jobless rate tops 26m for first time

EU jobless rate tops 26m for first time

Published: 2013/01/09

BRUSSELS: Unemployment in the 17 European Union (EU) countries that use the euro rose to 11.8 per cent in November, as the number of jobless people in the region rose to 18.8 million, the highest figure since the single currency was founded in 1999.

According to data released yesterday by the EU’s official statistics agency, eurozone unemployment was up 0.1 percentage point over October – but up a full 1.2 percentage point from a year ago. The rate for the 27-member EU was 10.7 per cent, the same as in October, but up from 10.0 per cent a year ago. The number of unemployed across the full EU topped 26 million.

The figures illustrate the daunting tasks confronting EU officials. While the threat of a collapse of the eurozone due to too much government debt may have receded, the economies in many EU countries stubbornly refuse to expand and joblessness continues to rise.

The biggest rise in unemployment over the past year took place in Greece, where joblessness soared to 26 per cent in September, up 7.1 percentage points over September 2011’s 18.9 per cent. But the highest overall rate in the EU was in Spain, where 26.6 per cent of the workforce was jobless in November, up 3.6 percentage points over last year. AP

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