Eurozone unemployment rate hits 12-year high in February

08:22, April 01, 2010      

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The unemployment rate in the eurozone hit a 12-year high in February, Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union (EU), said Wednesday.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment in the 16-nation eurozone stood at 10 percent in February, compared with 9.9 percent in January and much higher than the 8.8 percent a year ago. This was the highest rate since August 1998, according to Eurostat.

In the 27-nation EU, unemployment climbed to 9.6 percent in February, which was the highest level since records started in January 2000. It was 9.5 percent the pervious month and 8.3 percent in February 2009.

Among EU member states whose data were available, the Netherlands recorded the lowest unemployment of 4 percent. The highest rate was in Latvia, which was 21.7 percent. Spain had a staggering unemployment rate of 19 percent, the worst in the eurozone.

Germany, the largest economy in the EU, remained stable at 7.5 percent.

Eurostat estimated that 23.019 million people in the EU, including 15.749 million in the eurozone, were jobless in February.

Compared with January, unemployment went up by 131,000 in the EU and by 61,000 in the eurozone.

It is feared lower employment will weigh heavily on the growth potential of the European economy in the years ahead.



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