THE UNEMPLOYMENT rate in the Eurozone stuck at a record high for the eighth month in a row in November, with joblessness hitting an historic peak in Italy.
Separate data also showed a 1.4 per cent jump in retail sales in November, the sharpest monthly rise for 13 years and a more positive sign for the recovery.
Yet despite a thawing global economy, Italian unemployment reached 12.7 per cent in the penultimate month of last year – the highest rate since these records began in the late 1970s.
The picture is rosier in Ireland, where the unemployment rate fell for the 18th consecutive month, easing to 12.4 per cent. Ireland’s prospects were boosted on Tuesday, when its government raised €3.75bn (£3.1bn) in long-term debt.
But despite positive signs in some member states, the jobless rate remained at 12.1 per cent across the 17 countries that comprised the euro area in November. Figures published in Brussels yesterday showed the number of unemployed people edging up by 3,000 to total over 19.2m.
Since then Latvia has also joined the currency union, yet this has not altered the overall unemployment rate. Joblessness in the Baltic state is around 12 per cent.
Youth unemployment in many parts of the Eurozone remains elevated. The rate across the bloc for under-25s was 24.2 per cent in November, up from 23.9 per cent a year earlier. In Spain the youth unemployment rate is 57.7 per cent, while it is 54.8 per cent in Greece.
■ Germany – 5.2 per cent (2.2m people)
■ France – 10.8 per cent (3.2m people)
■ Italy – 12.7 per cent (3.25m people)
■ Spain – 26.7 per cent (6m people)
■ Greece – 27.4 per cent (1.37m people)*
■ Portugal – 15.5 per cent (824K people)
* Latest Greek figures refer to September