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Eurozone Jobless Rate Steady At Record High

Thu, 10/31/2013 - 7:48am
Juergen Baetz, Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The unemployment rate in the 17-nation eurozone remained at a record high of 12.2 percent in September as the bloc's nascent recovery failed to generate new jobs, official data showed Thursday.

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 percent from 24 percent in August, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency.

The August jobless rate was revised up from 12 percent. 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 labor 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 percent, according to Eurostat.

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

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

The eurozone's economy grew by 0.3 percent 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 percent and appears likely to stay flat amid a slow recovery and an inflation rate well below its targeted ceiling of 2 percent, analysts say.

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

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