European Unemployment Rate Rises to Highest in Almost 15 Years
2 May 2012, by Fergal O’Brien (Bloomberg)
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.