Eurozone unemployment hits record high

The 17-nation bloc had a jobless rate of 11.6 per cent in September, while inflation eased slightly in the last month.

    Eurozone unemployment hits record high
    Spaniards have been protesting against austerity measures that are likely to cause further layoffs [Reuters]

    Unemployment in the eurozone hit a record high in September, with nearly 150,000 more jobs lost as the debt crisis
    continues to undermine an economy slumping into recession, official data show.

    The 17-state eurozone had a jobless rate of 11.6 per cent in September, up from 11.5 per cent in August, with the numbers out of work rising to 18.49 million from 18.34 million, the Eurostat data agency said on Wednesday.

    The increase over the past year is well over two million.

    The highest unemployment rate was recorded again in Spain, where 25.8 per cent of adults are out of work. Further layoffs are likely to follow next year as more of the country's 60 billion euro ($78m) programme of budget austerity kicks in.

    Austria posted the lowest rate of 4.4 per cent and benchmark Germany and the Netherlands each on 5.4 per cent.

    Inflation easing

    Separate statistics showed inflation easing slightly in October to 2.5 per cent, thanks to slower growth of energy prices.

    The latest rate, down from 2.6 in September, is still well above the European Central Bank's target of below but close to 2.0 per cent.

    The Eurostat data agency said preliminary figures showed energy prices, the main driver of inflation at the moment, increased 7.8 per cent in October, slowing after a gain of 9.1 per cent in September.

    The second biggest inflation contributor was food, which was up 3.2 per cent year-on-year, up from 2.9 per cent the month before.

    Economists expect the European Central Bank to cut interest rates once more before the end of the year from the current record low of 0.75 per cent, to support the slowing economy which is likely to have sank into a recession in the third quarter.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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