independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Eurozone jobless rate stays at peak

Eurozone unemployment remains at a record high casting doubt on the strength of the recovery.

The unemployment rate in the 17-nation eurozone remained at a record high of 12.2% in September as the bloc's recent recovery failed to generate new jobs, official data shows.

The number of unemployed rose by 60,000 to 19.45 million, while the jobless rate for those aged under 25 edged up to 24.1% from 24% in August, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency.

The August jobless rate was revised up from 12%. Analysts had widely expected the rate to remain at that level in September, so the new figures show Europe's recovery is still too tepid.

"The latest figures put a dent in hopes that the labour market may have reached a turning point," said analyst Ben May of Capital Economic.

The unemployment rate for the wider 28-nation European Union, in turn, remained unchanged on the month at 11%, according to Eurostat.

Youth unemployment rates are lowest in Germany and Austria, with 7.7% and 8.7%, and highest in Europe's southern economies, which have been hit hard by the debt crisis and government austerity measures. They were around 57% in Greece and 56% in Spain.

The overall unemployment rate showed similar disparities. Germany and Austria had low rates of 5%. By contrast, joblessness was 26.6% in Spain. In Greece, where the latest figures available were for July - it stood at 27.6%.

The eurozone's economy grew by 0.3% in the second quarter compared with the previous three-month period, bringing it out of a recession that saw six straight quarterly declines. But the recovery is expected to be slow.

The European Central Bank's benchmark interest rate stands at a record-low 0.5% and appears likely to stay flat amid a slow recovery and an inflation rate well below its targeted ceiling of 2%, analysts say.

The eurozone's annual inflation rate dropped to 0.7% in October from 1.1% a month earlier, Eurostat said.

AP

Press Association

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