News / Europe

Eurozone Unemployment Soars to New High

A young couple approach an employment agency in Milan, Italy, April 2, 2012.
A young couple approach an employment agency in Milan, Italy, April 2, 2012.
Lisa BryantVOA News
The 17-nation eurozone has started 2013 on a grim note, with new statistics showing November unemployment at an all-time high.  

There is optimism the worst of the eurozone crisis is over, but the latest figures published by the European Union's statistical service offers a dose of reality.

​Eurostat's November figures show unemployment in the eurozone currency union climbing to a record 11.8 percent - up 0.1 percent from October, and more than a percentage point from a year ago.

Deputy director Guntram Wolff, of Brussels-based think-tank Bruegel, predicts 2013 will be another tough year for the eurozone.

"I think it sends a clear message that the economic crisis is still there and certainly we still have a major problem with our structural unemployment, with the business cycle situation, with the general economic outlook," he said.

Roughly 19 million people living in the currency union are out of work, two million more than a year ago. Unemployment is highest in two of Europe's most indebted economies, Spain and Greece, with more than a quarter of their populations out of work.

Austria, Luxembourg and Germany score the best, with the respective jobless rates at just 4.5 percent, 5.1 percent and 5.4 percent. France ranks roughly in the middle of the 17-nation currency union, with 10.7 percent unemployed in November, which is also the average for the entire 27-member European Union.

Youth hardest hit

The region's youth are the hardest hit. Nearly one-quarter of young, working-age Europeans are out of a job. In Greece and Spain, nearly six in 10 can not find work.

"I am really afraid that we have a generation that is, in a sense, a lost generation," Wolff said. "Because at that age, if you are unemployed, you will lose not just one or two years of your lifetime job, but you will really lose confidence in yourself for your entire life."

Some analysts predict unemployment will rise this year, suggesting the eurozone's problems are far from over.  

Jennifer McKeown, the senior European economist at Capital Economics in London, said she sees the jobless rate continuing to increase and that it could easily top 12 percent in the coming months.

"Lately, we have seen the rate increases have slowed a bit, which is broadly encouraging," she said. "But I suggest there are various public sector job cuts still in the pipeline and while the rate at which that is happening might be slowing in economies like Greece or like Portugal, it’s hitting harder now in core economies like France, so I think it’s fairly likely unemployment will continue rising."

McKeown said the jobless numbers point to a sharp divide in the economic fortunes of the eurozone nations, with countries on the geographic periphery performing much worse than those in the northern reaches of the currency bloc.

She added the divergence between the economies is nowhere clearer in the eurozone than in unemployment figures in Spain, for example, where the rate is over 26 percent, whereas Austrian unemployment is down at 4.5 percent.

"That’s just a massive divergence and I think its shows the eurozone is a very varied economy and it was bound to be very difficult to bring all the size economies together," McKeown said.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid