Another month, another record unemployment rate for the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro. Figures released on Friday by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, showed that the recession in the euro zone pushed unemployment in the currency bloc up to 11.7% in October.
The rise from the previous record of 11.6% in September was anticipated in light of the euro zone’s return to recession in the third quarter, commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
While the euro zone’s unemployment has been inching upward since June 2011, the equivalent rate in the US has fallen to below 8% as the world’s largest economy continues its recovery from recession. In October, it stood at 7.9%.
Eurostat found 18.7 million people were out of work across the euro zone, an increase of 173,000 on the previous month. The wider 27-nation EU that includes non-euro countries such as Britain and Poland had an unemployment rate of 10.7% and a total of 25.9 million out of work.
“The level of unemployment in Europe remains unacceptably high,’’ said Jonathan Todd, a spokesman for the European Commission.
Spain and Greece have the region’s highest unemployment rates — both over 25%, with youth unemployment levels heading towards 60%, a potentially toxic long-term economic and political development.