Unemployment in the 17-nation eurozone is at a record high 11.0% for the second month in a row, according to statistics from the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg. Spain, where the government is seeking to contain a banking crisis, has the highest rate, at 24.3%, similar to that in the US during the Great Depression. In Greece, where the economic crisis has turned into a political one with new elections scheduled for June 17, the unemployment rate is up to 21.7% from 15.2% in the year through February; youth unemployment is at around 51%.
In France, the jobless rate rose to 10.2% from 10.1%, with Italy reporting the same increase. Portugal reported a rise from 15.2% up from 15.1%.
This is indeed gloomy news coupled with the sluggish job growth in the US where unemployment is up to 8.2%.
In Europe, more than 17.4 million were jobless in April, up 110,000 from March. More than 3.5 million of those unemployed were 25 years old or under, a total of 214,000 more young persons out of work than in the previous month — all raising deep uncertainy about what the hopes for the younger generation, including children still in school, will be.
The ongoing, and worsening, economic slump has led to budget cuts and to companies in Spain, Italy and elsewhere reducing their workforces. Bloomberg reports that Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) may cut up to 1,000 jobs at LSG Sky Chefs, which is the world’s largest inflight caterer.
Economic confidence also fell in May and, for the tenth straight month in a row, manufacturing output has contracted, the deepest rate since June of 2009. For a fourth day in a row, the euro is trading lower against the dollar, at $1.2327 on Friday, down 0.3% from the day before.
The European Commission had indeed announced on May 11 that the single currency’s zone may contract by 0.3%; currently, the EC is predicting a contraction of 0.1%.
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