1 Feb 2012

Jobless figures at record high

5:32 am on 1 February 2012

Unemployment in the eurozone hit a record high at the end of last year.

The Eurostat agency said the jobless rate in the 17 countries using the currency was 10.4% in December, the same as in November.

Some 16.5 million people were out of work in the eurozone in December, up 751,000 on the year before.

The highest unemployment rate is in Spain (22.9%) and the lowest is in Austria (4.1%).

The BBC reports unemployment rose throughout 2011, as the debt crisis in the region continued. In December 2010, the unemployment rate in the euro area was 10%.

In the 27 countries of the European Union, the unemployment rate was 9.9% in December, with 23.8 million people out of work.

The biggest increases were in Greece, Cyprus and Spain. The largest falls took place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.