The unemployment rate in the 16-nation Eurozone has hit its highest level since the euro currency was introduced ten years ago. That is to say 9.5 percent or just over 15 million people.
The figure for May was up 0.2 percent on the previous month. In the 12 months leading up to May, 3.4 million jobs were lost in the Eurozone.
Europe’s worst hit job market is in Spain, where the unemployment rate is above 18 percent. But the number of people out of work there fell in both May and June, with a public works programme providing hundreds of thousands of temporary jobs.
Spain’s prime minister seized on this silver lining. José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said:
“We must be prudent but it means that the measures adopted by the government are starting to have positive effects and that some indexes show the economic situation in the second quarter is better than in the first quarter.”
However the Europe-wide rise in unemployment has dampened hopes anyone might have had of a quick recovery from recession.
Signs of an upturn will take time to have an effect on the job market and the number of people out of work is expected to keep rising until next year.