Eurozone jobless rate hits record 18.2m

People stand in line at a government employment office at Santa Eugenia’s Madrid suburb, January 27, 2012.

Official figures have shown that the eurozone unemployment rate hit a record high in August, rising to 11.4 percent for the first time in 17 years.

 

The European Statistics Office, Eurostat, said in a report on Monday that in August, 18.2 million people were out of work across the 17 countries that share the euro currency, the highest figure since records began in 1995.

The figure was much higher in the wider 27-nation European Union, with 25 million people without a job, the European Union agency said.

“Compared with August 2011, unemployment rose by 2.170 million in the EU and by 2.144 million in the euro area,” the agency said.

Meanwhile, a new study by consultancy Ernst & Young suggested that unemployment could rise to 19 million in the eurozone by early 2014, or about 12 percent of the workers. It also said that the jobless rate would increase to 27 percent in debt-stricken Greece, compared with 24.4 percent in June.

“In this difficult environment, companies are likely to reduce employment further in order to preserve productivity and profitability,” the consultancy said.

Job losses keep climbing as the eurozone’s worsening debt crisis pushes businesses to cut staff to contain their financial problems.

Various EU member states have been struggling with deep economic stagnancy since the bloc’s financial crisis began roughly five years ago. The debt crisis began in Greece and later spread to Ireland, Portugal and even the much bigger economy of Spain.

As a result, the member-states started implementing tough austerity measure in a bid to prevent facing double-dip recessions.

The austerity measures have only resulted in growing anger among the most affected people, sacked or low-income workers and students.

SAB/MA/HJL

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