Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said unemployment rose to 11.1 percent in May from 11 percent the previous month.
Unemployment rose to 11.1 percent in May. Photo: EFE
Unemployment in the 17 country euro currency bloc hit another record in May as the continent continued to be buffeted by its debt crisis, official figures showed Monday.
Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said unemployment rose to 11.1 percent in May from 11 percent the previous month. That's the highest rate since the euro was launched in 1999, and compares badly with an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent in the United States and only 4.4 percent in Japan.
In total, 17.6 million people were out of work in the eurozone in May, 1.8 million higher than a year earlier.
Unemployment has been edging higher for over a year as concerns over the debt crisis and the future of the euro currency itself have weighed on economic activity.
There are huge disparities across the eurozone. The labor markets of those countries at the front line of the debt crisis, such as Greece and Spain, are suffering in the wake of stringent austerity measures and recession. The highest unemployment rate across the eurozone was recorded in Spain, where 24.6 percent of people were out of work in May. Even more dramatically, 52.1 percent of the country's youth were unemployed.
Other countries in the eurozone are faring fairly better. Germany's unemployment rate, for example, stood at only 5.6 percent. However, a raft of surveys in recent weeks have pointed to tougher times ahead in Europe's biggest economy.
Across the wider 27-country European Union, which includes non-euro countries such as Britain and Poland, unemployment edged up to 10.3 percent in May from 10.2 percent the month before.