Euro zone unemployment rate in double digits

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said on Friday, that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the 16 countries that use the euro rose to 10 per cent in November, from 9.9 per cent in October and 8 per cent in November 2008.

For the euro area, the rate was the highest rate since 1998, a year before the euro was introduced. The number of unemployed in November rose by 102,000, still a significant pace of increase although down from the monthly peak of 4,75,000 seen at the start of last year.
The unemployment rate for the broader 27-member European Union was 9.5 per cent in November, from 9.4 per cent in October and 7.5 per cent in November 2008. While there have been signs of accelerating economic activity in Europe —– France and Germany officially emerged from recession during the third quarter and Britain is expected to have done the same in the fourth quarter —– economists say that the unemployment rate could well keep rising through this year, as employment does not tend to pick up until later in the cycle.

During past recoveries, labour markets in the euro area have taken longer to improve than that of the United States, he said. Eurostat also confirmed that the euro-zone economy grew by 0.4 per cent in the third quarter from the previous period, driven by a strong performance in Germany. Growth in the wider European Union picked up by 0.3 per cent.

Economists say that the rate of unemployment would be even higher in Europe if governments like France and Germany had not backed programmes that offer support to companies that keep workers but put them on shorter hours.

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