Unemployment in the Eurozone is at its highest rate this century.
Just over 14.5 million people are out of work in the 16 countries that use the euro, according to the EU’s statistics office. That is 9.2 percent of the area’s working population, the most since September 1999. The figures will dampen any hopes of a quick recovery from recession. Analysts say rising unemployment will put the brakes on consumer spending, particularly as it is likely to hold back wages for those who are in work. The country with the highest jobless rate in both the Eurozone and the 27-member European Union is Spain. More than 18 percent of working-age Spaniards were unemployed at the end of April. The number dropped slightly in May as holiday-season hiring began to pick up in the tourist-dependent economy. A government public works plan that created hundreds of thousands of short-term construction jobs has also begun to bear fruit. But these factors are temporary and many analysts say the news will get worse again after the summer.