Business, Economics and Jobs

Euro zone unemployment hits record high — again

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Euro zone unemployment hit a record high last month, topping out at 12.2 percent, with an additional 100,000 people seeking employment from the March figures.

Seventeen nations in Europe are part of the euro zone currency. Eurostat figures found that an additional 95,000 people lost their jobs — bringing the total of unemployed Europeans to a painful 19.38 million, on track to pass 20 million this year.

A separate report found that inflation increased by 1.4 percent in the euro zone, according to Bloomberg, exacerbating the economy with more stress and higher prices for both food and services.

The figures are the highest since data collection began in 1995, Reuters noted. Though the monthly surge to a new record unemployment rate in the euro zone has become routine.

Greece and Italy

A whopping two-thirds of young Greeks are unable to find employment. Joblessness rates in Italy are rising as well, with nearly 40 percent of young Italians out of work, the highest level in 36 years.

The overall unemployment rate for young people under the age of 25 in the euro zone stands at 24.4 percent, fueling fears of a "lost generation" of workers.

“We’re engaged in a race against time, and in too many countries, too many people without a job — in particular young people — remind us that the battle is not yet won, and further efforts are needed,” said EU President Herman Van Rompuy of the new figures, according to Bloomberg

Germany and France

Particularly worrying for the unity of the euro zone is the growing gap between the 11 percent jobless rate in France and the German rate at just 5.4 percent. That's making it harder for the two largest economies in the currency bloc to see eye-to-eye on the way out of the crisis.

Despite its own low unemployment, the German government is becoming increasingly worried about the persistently high jobless rates elsewhere, particularly among those under 25. It is mulling a scheme to import young people from southern Europe for training in Germany.

Many are not waiting — the number of people moving to Germany from Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy rose by over 40 percent last year.


Perhaps one glimmer of hope among the gloom is the result from Ireland, one of countries hardest hit by Europe's debt crisis which saw unemployment drop by 14.9 percent to 13.5 percent.

The country's national employment office said the jobless number dropped below 300,000 for the first time since 2010. However the fall is partly explained by a growth in part-time work and emigration.

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