The eurozone’s unemployment rate reached a new record in November as companies from carmakers to retailers laid people off.
Joblessness hit the highest level since the euro came into existence in 1999.
Unemployment rose to 18.82 million people, that’s 11.8 percent of the working population.
The jobless rate for young people is up to 24.4 percent. In Greece and Spain well over half those under 25 are out of work.
However, morale among businesses in the eurozone improved again in December,
Economic sentiment in the 17 countries using the euro rose by 1.3 points to 87 in the second straight month of gains after almost a year of falls, the European Commission’s monthly business and consumer survey showed on Tuesday.
Feeble demand was evident in retail trade data that was also released by Eurostat on Tuesday, showing a mere 0.1 percent rise in sales volumes in November from the previous month, not enough to account for sharp falls in August, September and October.
Another month of falls was only avoided in November because European motorists spent more on fuel. Sales of food and drinks fell even in the run-up to the year’s busiest shopping season.
While business morale has been helped by a series of steps to prevent the break-up of the eurozone, rising unemployment and stalled consumer spending underscore just how difficult the eurozone’s economic recovery will be.
Consumer spending generates about half of the euro zone’s economic output and the bloc is relying on Asian and US demand for its exports to generate growth at a time when major economies are only beginning to recover from the damaging repercussions of the eurozone’s crisis.