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Euro zone unemployment hits 10%; Spain tops the list with 19.5%

Saturday, January 30th 2010 - 08:18 UTC
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Across all 25 EU countries there are 23 million people out of jobs Across all 25 EU countries there are 23 million people out of jobs

Unemployment in the 16 countries that use the Euro hit 10% in December for the first time since the single currency was introduced in 1999. It had been reported that the rate hit 10% in November, but this has subsequently been revised down to 9.9%.

Some 15.8 million people are now out of work in the Euro zone, according to Eurostat, EU statistics office. Across all 27 countries that make up the EU, there are now 23 million people unemployed.

Latvia has the highest jobless rate in the EU at 22.8%. Spain continues to have the highest rate in the Euro-zone - rising to 19.5% in December, up from 19.4% in November.

The Netherlands has the lowest jobless rate at 4%, followed by Austria at 5.4%.

Some 21% of under-25s in the Euro-zone were unemployed in December 2009, with Spain suffering the highest rate of all, at 44.5%.

According to Eurostat, a total of 87,000 jobs were lost across the Euro zone during December. That was the lowest increase since May 2008.

Responding to the figures, Howard Archer from IHS Global Insight says Euro-zone unemployment will increase further in the coming year.

“Although the rise in Euro-zone unemployment has slowed in recent months, it still seems poised to trend higher during much, if not all, of 2010,” he said.

Separate figures released by the country's National Statistics Institute show that in the final three months of 2009, 4.33 million people were unemployed in Spain. Experts have repeatedly expressed fears of a “double-dip” recession on the Iberian Peninsula -- which is also struggling with a Greek-style public deficit way above EU targets.

The news came on top of rising inflation -- with separate official figures showing the annual rate of price rises hitting 1.0%, a new peak after falling to an all-time low of minus 0.7% six months earlier.

The rising prices also come at a time when the euro is losing ground against the US dollar -- with the European currency's value having slipped considerably from a November peak of 1.50 dollars to currently trade at under 1.40 dollars.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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