Eurozone jobless total reaches record high

Eurozone jobless total reaches record high
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The jobless queues in Spain have got longer. The country has the unenviable record of the highest total of unemployed in the eurozone at 26.2 percent.

That increase is reflected in the numbers of people looking for work across the 17 nation single-currency.

Figures from the European Union’s statistic office show the unemployment rate reached 11.7 percent for October up from 11.6 percent in September. In numbers it means a rise of 173,000 taking the eurozone’s total without work to a record 18.7 million.

They are the highest recorded figures since the data was first measured in 1995.

The statistics reflect a sharp contrast between northern and southern Europe. In Italy the rate rose to 11.1 percent from 10.8 percent the previous month. In Germany unemployment held steady at 5.4 percent while in Austria it actually fell from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent.

The last two years have shown an accelerated rise in the figures. “The real problem is we have a two speed Europe with unemployment being driven by Spain and Italy,” commented one analyst.

The eurozone economy has shrunk for two successive quarters forcing companies to cut costs. Governments have had to push through hefty spending cuts to control borrowing, banks have been cutting their lending.

Jobless figures show it is the youth who have been hit the hardest. In the 17 nations it now stands at 23.9 percent. Spain’s rate is almost double at 55.9 percent.

But it is Greece a country which is in its fifth year of recession which is the highest rate among young people at 58 percent.

The outlook is not promising. “There’s no escaping the fact the unemployment rate will rise again next year,” said one commentator.

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