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Eurozone unemployment hits 15-year high

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Eurozone unemployment hits 15-year high

Mon, 02 April 2012
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Unemployment across the countries that use the euro hit a 15-year high of 10.8 per cent in February.

Figures from the European Commission's official statistics agency, eurostat, showed unemployment was up from 10.7% in January and compared to 10.0% in February 2011.

The figures laid bare the vast economic differences between 17 countries using the euro.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.2%), the Netherlands (4.9%), Luxembourg (5.2%) and Germany (5.7%).

This compared with countries where much a higher proportion of citizens were out of work, including Spain (23.6%) and Greece (21.0% in December 2011).

Both Spain and Greece are implementing stringent austerity packages to deal with their huge debt problems.

The statistics will fuel arguments that the cuts are damaging their economies rather than helping them.

Younger workers have been hit particularly hard by the crisis in Europe, with the unemployment rate across the 27 member European Union reaching 22.4%.

In Spain youth unemployment is now at 50.5%, just higher than Greece at 50.4%.

Other countries particularly hard hit include Ireland (31.6%), France (21.7%), Italy (31.9%), Portugal (35.4%), and the UK (22.2%).

In contrast youth unemployment was much lower in Germany (8.2%), Austria (8.3%) and the Netherlands (9.4%).

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