Unemployment in the eurozone has risen to a new high, with Spain recording the highest jobless rate with more than one in four out of work.
There are now 18.49 million people without jobs in the 17 countries sharing the euro, European statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday, with an extra 146,000 joining the ranks of the unemployed last month. The jobless rate increased to 11.6% in September, the highest on record, from a revised 11.5% in August.
“With surveys suggesting that firms are becoming more reluctant to hire, the eurozone unemployment rate looks set to rise further, placing more pressure on struggling households,” said Ben May, European economist at Capital Economics.
The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.4%), Luxembourg (5.2%), Germany and the Netherlands (both 5.4%), which are near full employment. Spain (25.8%) and Greece (25.1% in July) had the highest unemployment in the eurozone, while France looks much like Italy (both at 10.8%), with a steady rise in joblessness. August data for Greece will be published next week, although the true picture is probably worse, as a growing number of Greek workers remain nominally employed but have not been paid for some time.
Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight, said the jobless data was “dismal”, adding: “Eurozone labour markets remain under serious pressure from ongoing weakened economic activity and low business confidence.”
Youth unemployment also hit a new high in Spain with 54.2% of under-25-year-olds out of work, up from 53.8%.