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New Signs Confirm Weakening European Economy

The entrance of the PSA Peugeot Citroen La Janais factory near Rennes, western France, July 12, 2012.
There is new evidence of Europe's weak economic fortunes.

The value of the euro used by the 17-nation currency union fell to a two-year low against the U.S. dollar - below $1.22 in Thursday trading.

Meanwhile, the jobless rate in debt-ridden Greece reached a new high in April of more than 22 percent - up slightly from March, but more than six percentage points higher than a year ago. Greece twice has been forced to secure bailouts from its European neighbors and is mired in a fifth year of recession.

In France, automaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen plans to slash 8,000 jobs and said it would close one of its assembly plants in the country.

The company says it lost $860 million the first half of 2012, in a market that has fallen more 20 percent in the past five years.

PSA Chairman of the Managing Board, Philippe Varin, says in the statement, "The depth and persistence of the crisis impacting our business in Europe have now made this reorganization project indispensable to align our production capacity with foreseeable markets."

The company hopes its reorganization and partnership with General Motors will improve its future earnings.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.