Euro zone unemployment rate reaches record high
The European Union’s statistics agency has today announced unemployment in the 16-member euro zone rose to 10% in February – the first time it has reached this level since the common currency was introduced.
The rise in the jobless rate highlights the sluggish recovery within the euro zone. The economic downturn has hit the euro zone particularly hard and the region contracted by 4% over the whole of last year – its biggest fall since the euro was launched.
Eurostat said 15.749 million people were unemployed in the euro zone during February, up 61,000 from the previous month.
Meanwhile, in the 27-nation European Union, the unemployment rate rose from 9.5% in January to 9.6% in February.
Separately, figures today showed inflation in the euro zone reached 1.5% in March – a 15-month high.
The figures led many analysts to believe that the European Central Bank will keep interest rates at the record low of 1% until at least the fourth quarter of 2010.