Eurozone unemployment rate at record 11%: EU

BRUSSELS - Eurozone unemployment climbed to a new record high of 11.1 per cent in May, with Spain the hardest hit at 24.6 per cent, official figures showed Friday.

More than 17.5 million people were jobless in the 17-nation single currency area in May, as 88,000 more men and women joined unemployment queues, according to Eurostat data agency.

Unemployment in April stood at 11 per cent for the second month running, then the highest level since the creation of the monetary union in 1999.

In May, youth unemployment surged again with 3.4 million people under 25 looking for work, an increase of 254,000 from 12 months earlier.

Unemployment in the eurozone has remained above 10 per cent for 13 months in a row as the bloc struggles to revive economies contaminated by a debt crisis now in its third year and threatening large members, Spain and Italy.

At a summit last week, European leaders agreed on a growth pact to accompany an austerity drive that some say has choked the economy.

In the wider 27-nation European Union, unemployment rose to 10.3 per cent against 10.2 in April, the same level as in March. Some 24.86 million men and women were jobless in the EU as unemployment increased by 151,000 people.

Spain recorded again the worst unemployment rate at 24.6 per cent, with more than one in two people under 25 without work.

Greece was next at 21.9 per cent in March, the latest available figures for that country, followed by Latvia at 15.3 per cent in the first quarter and Portugal at 15.2 per cent in May.

Austria has the lowest rate at 4.1 per cent, followed by the Netherlands at 5.1 per cent, Luxembourg at 5.4 per cent and Germany at 5.6 per cent.

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