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August 3, 2009    

Euro zone unemployment rate hits 9.4%

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by Kay Murchie

The unemployment rate in the euro zone hit 9.4% in June - the highest in a decade after the number of jobless rose by 158,000 during the month, bringing the total jobless number using the single currency bloc to 14.9 million.

According to Eurostat, the unemployment rate was 7.5% this time last year, showing the impact the economic downturn is having on the nation.

However, Spain was badly hit with unemployment up 18.1% in June, and a youth unemployment rate of 36.5%. Spain has the highest unemployment rate of any EU country.

In the meantime, inflation in the euro zone fell more than expected in July, moving further into negative territory.

Consumer prices in the 16-nation area fell a record 0.6% compared to a year ago, said Eurostat - it was the second consecutive month of falling prices following June’s decline of 0.1%.

According to Martin Van Vliet of ING, it is the “lowest inflation rate for the 16 countries sharing the euro in more than 50 years.”

“The fall is probably mainly food and energy price related. But the magnitude of the drop means that core inflation probably also fell noticeably from the current level of 1.4%,” he added.

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