Eurozone unemployment stays at record 11 percent; Spain, Greece worst off
BRUSSELS ó Unemployment across the 17 countries that use the euro stayed at 11 percent in April ó the highest level since the single currency was introduced back in 1999, piling further pressure on the regionís leaders to switch from austerity to focus on stimulating growth.
The eurozoneís stagnant economy left 17.4 million people ó out of an active population of around 158 million people ó without a job. Unemployment rates are also continuing to climb in struggling Spain, Portugal and Greece. The EUís Eurostat office said 110,000 unemployed were added in April alone. In the U.S. the unemployment rate in April dropped from 8.2 percent the previous month to 8.1 percent.
Menawhile, in recession-hit Spain, unemployment spiked to 24.3 percent, the worst rate in the EU. It was up 0.2 points since March, and 3.6 percentage points compared to last year. Youth unemployment ballooned to a 51.5 percent, up from 45 percent last year.
According to the Eurostat figures for April, Greece is the blocís second worst performer after Spain with unemployment creeping further upwards to 21.7 percent in February, the last month for which figures are available. It compares to a rate of 16.1 percent a year earlier. The economy in Greece has been contracting far more than expected late last year, taking employment with it in a downward spiral.
Athens is facing June 17 elections where jobs are a key issue together with the fundamental question of whether the country wants to stay in the currency zone.
Like Greece, Ireland has been forced to rely on an international bailout but its economy returned to growth last year. It is beginning to show in the statistics since overall unemployment fell to 14.2 percent, when it stood at 14.7 only in December.
Unemployment was lowest in Austria, whose economy has been outperforming the European Union average, with 3.9 percent, followed by Luxembourg and the Netherlands with 5.2 percent.http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/eurozone-unemployment-stays-at-record-11-percent-spain-greece-worst-off/2012/06/01/gJQAqtON6U_story.html