Unemployment Hits 10.8 Percent in the Eurozone

Eurostat—the European Union's statistics agency—says unemployment in the eurozone went up by 162,000 in February. Total unemployment reached 17.134 million—10.8 percent—after ten straight months of rising, the highest recorded figure since the data began being compiled in January 1995. "We expect it to go higher, to reach 11 percent by the end of the year,” said Raphael Brun-Aguerre, an economist at JPMorgan. “You have public sector job cuts, income going down, weak consumption. The economic growth outlook is negative and is going to worsen unemployment.” 

Debt crises and austerity programs are most certainly a big factor in the job losses—the countries hit worst by unemployment, like Spain (23.6 percent) and Greece (21 percent in December), are also the ones scrambling to stave off default—and economists are divided on the utility of fighting deficits while so many EU economies are in shambles. Germany's unemployment held steady at 5.7 percent in February, highlighting sharp economic differences within the zone.

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