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Article posted on 5/2/12
Author: Kelly Curtis

Eurozone Unemployment Hits 10.9 Percent

Unemployment across the 17 nations that use the euro as their primary currency rose to 10.9 percent in March as the region continues to struggle to overcome its ongoing debt crisis and avert a broad-based double-dip recession. The jobless rate among the 27 members of the European Union remained flat at 10.2 percent, as job gains in some non-eurozone nations offset the job losses for the eurozone, which had an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent in February. Both rates, however, are at their highest levels since 1999, when the consolidated euro currency was launched.

In the March European labor report, there were 13 nations with jobless rates in the double-digits, including record-high levels of 24.1 percent in Spain and 21.7 percent in Greece. The region's labor problems are closely tied to its ongoing sovereign debt crisis, which has forced a handful of European nations to implement steep austerity measure in an attempt to avert a double-dip recession. Those effort appear to have been in vain, however, as there are now 12 countries in Europe that have had two or more quarters in a row of economic contraction, which most economists say constitutes a downturn. Nine of those countries share the euro while three, including the UK, use their own currency.

Of the European nations currently in recession, the United Kingdom, which had 8.2 percent unemployment in March, is the largest. Economists maintain that the broader eurozone and European Union are also in recession, and expect it to be confirmed when the group's reveal their first-quarter gross domestic products on May 15th. In contrast to Euope's continued labor woes, the United States has seen its jobless rate drop steadily since early last year, falling to 8.2 percent in March.

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