Eurozone unemployment reaches fresh record high

Ben Southwood
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JOBLESSNESS continued to soar in the crisis-stricken Eurozone, figures showed yesterday, climbing to yet another all-time record in February.

Across the 17 members of the troubled currency area, 19.07m jobseekers were unable to find work in February, Eurostat numbers revealed, adding a further 33,000 to January’s previous all-time record.

The new figures mean 12 per cent of the Eurozone’s total population is unemployed, Eurostat said, up more than a percentage point since February last year, when 10.9 per cent were out of work.

Eurozone factory downturn deepens in March

The headline rate hides stark divides between the North and South of the bloc. While 26.4 per cent of Greece’s workforce failed to find work, along with 26.3 per cent of Spain’s, some 95.2 per cent of Austrians, 94.6 per cent Germans and 93.8 per cent of Dutch jobseekers were able to get work.

Meanwhile separate figures from Markit revealed that decline in the bloc’s manufacturing sector sped up in March, with even previously strong Austria, Germany and Ireland being pulled into decline.

The Eurozone’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a widely-regarded business survey, slumped from 47.9 in February to 46.8 last month, numbers from Markit showed – further below 50 and hence indicating speedier contraction in the sector. This was the 19th successive month with a Eurozone manufacturing PMI below 50, Markit said, suggesting the sector has been in decline for more than a year and a half.

Manufacturing was in retreat in every major economy – particularly the hardest hit Southern European economies Spain, Italy, Greece and France, which all scored PMIs below 45, indicating rapid decline even after many top figures in the bloc claimed the worst of the crisis was over.