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Eurozone Unemployment Soaring

  • VOA News

A pedestrian enters an Alpha Bank building in Athens, October 1, 2012.

A pedestrian enters an Alpha Bank building in Athens, October 1, 2012.

Unemployment is soaring in Europe's euro currency bloc, with another two-million workers left without jobs in the past year.

The European Union reported Monday that more than 18 million workers were unemployed in the 17-nation currency union in August, the most since it first started keeping records in 1995. The eurozone jobless rate is 11.4 percent, substantially higher than for two of its economic competitors, with the United States at 8.1 percent and Japan at 4.1 percent.

Another seven-million workers were counted as jobless in the 10 other EU countries outside the eurozone. European Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd called the overall unemployment picture unacceptable.

"It is clearly unacceptable that 25-million Europeans are now out of work," said Todd. "We have to take measures to put an end to the current crisis and to give priority to job creation."

Spain's unemployment figure topped 25 percent in August, with Greece only slightly less. Economic powerhouse Germany had a 5.5 percent rate, with neighboring Austria owning the lowest eurozone figure at 4.5 percent.

In Athens, Greek officials met with the country's international creditors to discuss their plan for another $17 billion in austerity measures in an effort to secure a new round of needed bailout funds.
Budget crises have forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to secure international rescue packages, and analysts say the Spanish government could be next.

Youth unemployment is a particular problem in Europe. The new labor-market data shows that more than half of Spain's workers under the age of 25 are out of work. Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Slovakia have youth unemployment rates of more than 30 percent.
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