Eurozone unemployment hits record high in May | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 02.07.2012
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Eurozone unemployment hits record high in May

Joblessness in the eurozone has risen to an all-time high as there's no end in sight to the debt crisis. Job market analysts warn that the EU's growth pact will not be enough to reverse the trend in the months ahead.

Unemployment in the euro area climbed for the 13th month in a row in May, data from the European statistics office, Eurostat, showed on Monday.

The office reported that another 88,000 people lost their jobs in the 17-member currency bloc month-on-month, taking the total of people out of work to 17.6 million, up 1.8 million from May 2011.

Unemployment now stands at 11.1 percent, the highest level since the launch of the euro some 13 years ago.

Eurostat data showed the nations at the center of the current debt crisis were hardest hit. Spain once again led the table with an unemployment rate of 24.5 percent, followed by Greece at 21.9 percent.

Market uncertainties prevail

ING Bank economist Martin van Vliet belives the difficult situation on the eurozone's labor market is far from over. "The employment expectations indices have generally worsened in recent months, pointing to further increases in unemployment over the coming months," van Vliet told the DPA news agency.

Companies in the eurozone have frozen or at least cut back spending amid growing concerns about the single currency's future and have aimed to keep labor costs down. Weak demand from overseas has also taken its toll.

Unemployment in the larger 27-member European Union was also seen nudging up in May, reaching 10.3 percent with 151,000 people added to job center queues across the bloc. In total, 25 million people are now out of work in the EU.

hg/ng (dpa, Reuters)