Euro zone unemployment rate up to 9.2%

| June 2, 2009
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The European Union statistics office has today revealed that euro zone unemployment has hit a 10-year high as the 16-member nation grapples with recession.

The latest figures take the unemployment rate to 9.2% in April, up from 8.9% in March.

Almost 400,000 more people lost their jobs, taking the number of people out of work to 14.579 million – the highest level since September 1999.

In the meantime, Germany, which is Europe’s largest economy saw unemployment rise from 7.6% in March to 7.7% in April.

However, Spain has the highest unemployment rate of any EU country at 18.1%, followed by Latvia (17.4%) and Lithuania (16.8%).

Meanwhile, France, which is Europe’s second largest economy, saw its unemployment rate creep up to 8.9%.

Howard Archer from IHS Global Insight warned that: “It will be some time before any improvement in economic activity feeds through to help the jobs outlook.”

“Deep and extended economic contraction, depressed business confidence and deteriorating profitability are currently increasingly feeding through to push unemployment up sharply across the euro zone”, explained Mr Archer.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is scheduled to meet this week to discuss interest rates. Last month, the Bank opted to cut rates by 0.25% to 1% for the euro zone.

The new rate is a record low and is the seventh cut in as many months. Rates have been reduced since October 2008 when they stood at 4.25%.

Meanwhile, the ECB last month announced plans to inject around €60 billion (£53.5 billion) into the economy by buying up debt.

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