Eurozone unemployment rate hits record high

Eurozone unemployment rate hits record high

Unemployment across the 17-country eurozone hit another record high in May after initial statistics were rechecked.

Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said it rose 0.1% in May to 12.1% – a new record for the region as the previous months’ data were revised down, including April’s original 12.2% estimate.

Across the eurozone there were 19.22 million people unemployed, 67,000 up on the previous month.

Figures next month will show whether the eurozone’s economy remained in recession during the second quarter of the year.

Elsewhere, Eurostat said inflation picked up to 1.6% in the year to June, up from 1.4% the previous month.

The rate remains below the European Central Bank’s target.

Most economists think the double dip figures will be a close call.

While countries such as Germany have seen their economies prosper, those at the forefront of Europe's debt crisis, such as Greece and Spain, have seen economic contraction on a massive scale.

Greece and Spain also have the highest unemployment rates in the eurozone. Spain’s unemployment was 26.9%, while Greece’s rate in March – its statistics are compiled on different timeframes – was 26.8%.

Both countries are also mired in a youth unemployment crisis. Spain’s rate was 56.5% while Greece’s was 59.2%.

The ECB is meeting this Thursday to decide what more it can do to shore up the eurozone’s economy.

The main interest rate though is expected to remain at the record low of 0.5%.

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