Unemployment in the Euro zone reached a new high of 11.9% in January, as an additional 201,000 people joined the jobless ranks in the crisis-battered bloc, latest data showed Friday. The unemployment rate has been increasing relentlessly since the middle of 2011.
The European Union‘s statistics agency, Eurostat, also revised the December rate, from 11.7 to 11.8%.
Many analysts believe that unemployment will rise further still because of the Euro zone‘s enduring debt crisis. The EU executive, the European Commission, also predicted last week that it would climb above 12% this year.
Just under 19 million people were jobless in the 17-member Euro zone in January, 1.9 million more than a year earlier. They included 3.6 million people under the age of 25, leading to a youth unemployment rate of 24.2%.
Greece and Spain continued to post the worst figures, with overall unemployment above 26% and youth unemployment approaching 60% in Greece and remaining above 55% in Spain. Austria (4%); Germany and Luxembourg, (5.3%) and Netherlands (6%) continued to post the lowest rates.
In the wider 27-member EU, the overall rate increased to 10.8% in January, after another 222,000 people became unemployed. A total of 26.2 million people are without a job in the bloc, of which almost 19 million in the Euro zone.
The issue of youth unemployment was addressed on Thursday by the President of the European Commission, Manuel Barroso during a speech at the Trinitiy college in Dublin. Barroso said that Commission’s Youth Guarantee scheme will aim to “give every young European access to a job, further education, or work-focused training at the latest four months after becoming unemployed.” Moreover, Barroso stressed that EU free trade negotiations will “create opportunities for the future of young people in Europe.”