European Unemployment Rate Rises to Highest in Almost 15 Years

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European Unemployment Rate Rises to Highest in Almost 15 Years
2 May 2012, by Fergal O’Brien (Bloomberg)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-02/european-unemployment-rate-rises-to-highest-in-almost-15-years.html

Euro-region unemployment rose to the highest in almost 15 years and manufacturing contracted for a ninth month, adding to signs the economy continues to weaken.

The jobless rate in the 17-nation euro area increased to 10.9% in March from 10.8% in February, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today.

That’s the highest since April 1997, when the rate reached a record high, according to Bloomberg News data going back to 1990.

A manufacturing gauge in the region fell to 45.9 in April from 47.7 in March, Markit Economics said.

The European Central Bank will probably keep its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 1% tomorrow, according to all 58 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

ECB President Mario Draghi said on April 25 that European leaders need to create a “growth compact” as spending cuts across the region damp activity and prompt a backlash among citizens.

The euro-area jobless rate in March matched the median forecast of 31 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The number of people out of work in the region rose by 169,000 from February to 17.4 million.

In the 27-nation European Union, the unemployment rate was 10.2% in March, unchanged from the previous month and up from 9.4% in March 2011.

Spain had the region’s highest unemployment rate in March, at 24.1%, with Greece at 21.7%, the report showed.

The lowest rates were in Austria and the Netherlands, at 4% and 5% respectively.

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German Jobless Unexpectedly Up in April as Crisis Flared
2 May 2012
, by Brian Parkin (Bloomberg)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-02/german-jobless-unexpectedly-up-in-april-as-crisis-flared.html

Excerpt:

German unemployment unexpectedly rose in April as the debt crisis in the euro area constrained growth and hiring in Europe’s biggest economy.

The number of people out of work increased a seasonally adjusted 19,000 to 2.87 million, the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg said today.

Economists forecast a decline of 10,000, the median of 34 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey shows.

The adjusted jobless rate was unchanged at 6.8%, still a two- decade low, after the agency revised up figures for February and March.

“The labor market has entered a period of stabilization at a high level,” said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING Group in Brussels.

While “the economic tailwind from the last two years is clearly fading away,” it is “not yet a cause for concern” and so far underscores that the labor market is an indicator that lags behind economic developments.

German unemployment has been the biggest advertisement for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s prescription to quell the debt crisis with budget cuts and labor-market changes as part of an economic overhaul.

Separate European figures published by the Luxembourg- based statistics agency Eurostat today showed euro-region unemployment rose to 10.9% in March, the highest in almost 15 years and almost double Germany’s rate of 5.6%.

Even so, following the German labor agency revisions, joblessness has now increased in three of the past seven months after declining for 27 straight months.

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