Business, Economics and Jobs

Euro zone unemployment hits record high of 11.4 percent


Aman holds a sign reading "Future? I don't know if I have any" during a demonstration against the Portuguese government's austerity policies at the Terreiro do Paco Square in Lisbon on September 29, 2012. Thousands of Portuguese took to the streets of Lisbon today in a new protest against government financial policies expected to get even tougher to meet pledges to creditors.



The European Union on Monday announced record levels of unemployment across the hard-hit euro zone.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the 11.4 percent rate, as well as rates in June and July that were recently revised to the same level, represent "record highs."

Nonetheless, the Eurostat press office described the August rate as stable compared with July. Unemployment rates have exceeded their 2011 levels for the months of June, July and August, with the largest increases seen in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain.

Currently, the highest unemployment rates are in Spain and Greece, each of which are seeing about a quarter of their eligible workers without a job. Among youth under 25, unemployment rates exceed 50 percent in both countries, Eurostat said. Austerity measures in both of those countries have contributed to high rates of unemployment, BBC News reported.

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The lowest August unemployment rates were seen in Austria (4.5 percent), Luxembourg (5.2 percent), the Netherlands (5.3 percent) and Germany (5.5 percent).

In the past year, the rate of unemployment has increased in 20 euro zone countries and decreased in six, according to Eurostat, with the rate unchanged in the UK. Female unemployment in August was marginally higher (11.6 percent) than male unemployment(11.3 percent) across the euro zone.

The European Commission recently sounded the alarm that unemployment amid persistent economic crisis across the euro zone threatens "a real social emergency crisis," BBC News reported.

Child poverty is another emerging issue as households continue to struggle, according to the commission's review.

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