Debt-stricken eurozone nations are still largely unable to create new employment opportunities as harsh austerity measures take their toll almost everywhere. The bloc's jobless rate has reached a new high.
The 17-member eurozone's unemployment rate remained at a record 11.3 percent for the second consecutive months in July, the European Union's statistics office, Eurostat, reported on Friday.
The total number of unemployed people across the bloc stood at 18 million, up two million from a year earlier. It included 3.4 million people under the age of 25, which translates into a youth unemployment rate of 22.6 percent.
Topping the list in July was Spain which posted an overall jobless rate of 25.1 percent, with its youth unemployment reaching an alarming 52.9 percent.
All eyes on the ECB
But there were also a few bright spot in the euro area, Luxembourg-based Eurostat said. It cited Austria as the eurozone country with the lowest jobless rate of 4.5 percent, while the Netherlands followed with a rate of 5.3 percent and Germany and Luxembourg coming in third with 5.5 percent unemployment.
In the wider 27-member European Union, 43,000 more people lost their jobs in July, pushing the total to 25 million. The EU unemployment rate remained at 10.4 percent.
The new data came ahead of next Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank's executive board which is expected to announce more measures to help resolve the protracted debt crisis and with it boost employment again.
hg/pfd (AFP, dpa)