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Eurozone Jobless Rate Hits New High

  • Selah Hennessy

German police officers guard the Deutsche Bank building during a demonstration by anti-capitalism Blockupy protesters in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, May 31, 2013.

German police officers guard the Deutsche Bank building during a demonstration by anti-capitalism Blockupy protesters in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, May 31, 2013.

Unemployment in the eurozone has reached a new record high according to figures published Friday. Nearly 20 million people are out of work.

Nicola Massarelli is from Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics office. He said, “The unemployment rates are the highest in this time series. Unemployment has been going up since the beginning of 2008 constantly until now.”

A time series is a sequence of data that shows how the value of a variable changes over time.

According to the figures published Friday, the eurozone’s overall jobless rate is now at 12.2 percent. In the 12 months up until April, 1.6 million people lost their jobs.

But the numbers show that there is great disparity across the 17-nation bloc.

In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, the unemployment rate is just over five percent. That is in major contrast to some of its eurozone neighbors. Massarelli:

“There are two countries where the unemployment rates are by far higher than in any other countries in the euro area," dsaid Massarelli. "These are Greece, where the rate is 27 percent, and Spain, where it is 26.8 percent.”

Youth have been the hardest hit. Excluding students, 24.4 percent of people under the age of 25 were out of work in April. Again, the numbers vary massively country by country. In Germany, the number is under eight percent. In Greece it’s soaring at more than 60 percent.

The Eurozone has been in recession for 18 months, its longest recession since the single-currency was launched in 1999. And earlier this week the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, said it expects the eurozone economy to contract by 0.6 percent this year.

On Friday, around 1,000 protesters gathered outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt demonstrating against what they say is the bank's role in enforcing harsh austerity measures across the eurozone - spending cuts and tax hikes aimed at tackling the eurozone’s ongoing debt crisis.

The European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund have made austerity a key demand of international bailout packages - and protestors blame these policies for the ongoing recession and rising unemployment.

The anti-capitalist "Blockupy" movement has called for two days of action in protest.

Florian Dallmann, one of the protestors, said they are protesting against the European austerity policy, which is a disaster for the people in the countries affected. He said spending cuts in one European country impact all Europeans.

The ECB said it will remain operational despite the protests.
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