3 April 2012
Unemployment in countries which use the Euro – the Eurozone - has increased according to new official figures. Over 17 million people, or 10.8 per cent of the workforce were unemployed in February.
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The new figures from the European Union's statistical agency show the Eurozone's persistent economic problems. Aggressive action by the European Central Bank - in the shape of a trillion Euro of three-year loans to the financial institutions - has certainly brought relative calm to the markets.
But parts of the wider economy are still struggling. The number of unemployed across the Eurozone is nearly one and a half million higher than a year ago.
There remains a striking divergence between the region's struggling countries and the more successful ones. Unemployment is below six per cent in Austria, the Netherlands and Germany, but over 20 per cent in Spain and Greece. In both the latter countries, the unemployment rate for young people is over 50 per cent.
A separate private-sector survey of managers in industry points to a continued decline in manufacturing production. That adds to evidence suggesting the Eurozone economy as a whole may have contracted in the first quarter of the year, as it did at the end of 2011. If that does turn out to be the case it would be a recession.
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- statistical agency
organisation which collects and publishes data
- in the shape of
in the form of
- the latter
companies not owned or run by the government
process of getting worse
three months in a year
period of reduced economic activity and higher unemployment (defined by economists as two consecutive quarters of economic decline)