The rate of unemployment in the eurozone has hit a record high of 12%, official figures have shown. The number of people unemployed in the 17 member states rose by 33,000 during February, to hit 19.07 million, the statistics agency Eurostat said. The highest jobless rates were 26.4% in Greece, although this figure was from December, and 26.3% in Spain. Separately, figures confirmed a deterioration in the eurozone’s manufacturing sector in March. The lowest unemployment rates recorded by Eurostat were in Austria (4.8%) and Germany (5.4%), both unchanged from January. The overall unemployment rate for the eurozone in January was revised up from 11.9% to 12%.
Across the 27 member states of the European Union, the unemployment rate rose to 10.9%, up from 10.8% the previous month.
The fresh high in the unemployment rate “is further confirmation of the underlying weakness of the economy”, said Jennifer McKeown at Capital Economics.
- Greece 26.4%
- Spain 26.3%
- Portugal 17.5%
- Italy 11.6%
- France 10.8%
- Germany 5.4%
- Austria 4.8%
- US 7.7%
- Japan 4.2%
- UK 7.7%
The final Market eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for March fell to 46.8, slightly higher than an initial estimate but below the 47.9 recorded in February. Any score below 50 indicates a contraction in the sector.
Germany and the Republic of Ireland both fell back below 50, while the rate of decline accelerated in all other eurozone countries apart from France.
The survey indicated that output and new orders fell across the eurozone, while job losses increased.