EU unemployment rate reaches 14-year high

April 2nd, 2012 - 11:17 pm ICT by BNO News  

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (BNO NEWS) — The European Union (UN) unemployment rate in February rose for the tenth consecutive month, reaching its highest numbers in more than 14 years, officials said on Monday.

In the 17-nation euro area (EA17), the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.8 percent in February of this year, compared to 10.7 percent in January. The figure for February represents an increase of 0.8 percent compared to the 10.0 percent in February 2011.

Meanwhile, the wider 27-nation region (EU27) registered a 10.2 percent unemployment rate in February, compared with 10.1 percent in January. On a year-to-year basis, the figure is 0.7 percent higher than the 9.5 percent reported in February 2011.

The numbers were released by the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat, which in its report also estimated that 24.5 million men and women in the EU27 were unemployed in February, an increase of 167,000 people compared to January.

In the EA17, meanwhile, 17.1 million people were unemployed in February, showing an increase of 162,000 in the area. Compared with February 2011, unemployment rose by 1.8 million and 1.4 million in the EU27 and in the euro area, respectively.

Among the EU Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.2 percent), the Netherlands (4.9 percent), Luxembourg (5.2 percent) and Germany (5.7 percent), and the highest in Spain (23.6 percent) and Greece (21.0 percent in December 2011).

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate fell in eight EU Member States, increased in eighteen and remained stable in Romania. The largest falls were observed in Lithuania (17.5 percent to 14.3 percent between the fourth quarters of 2010 and 2011), Latvia (17.0 percent to 14.6 percent between the fourth quarters of 2010 and 2011) and Estonia (13.9 percent to 11.7 percent between the fourth quarters of 2010 and 2011).

Compared to global economic powers, the unemployment rate in the United States was at 8.3 percent in February. Japan registered an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in January.

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