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article imageUnemployment edges up in eurozone

By Larry Clifton     Apr 2, 2013 in Politics
Berlin - Unemployment in the eurozone has edged up to 12 percent from 11.9 percent, the highest rate since the group of financially-joined countries established a common currency.
The eurozone, a collection of 17 sovereign European Union countries with competing interests, a common currency and a combined population over 330 million, includes Spain, Greece and other countries where mass unemployment has become the norm.
The near economic collapse of certain eurozone countries has weighed heavy on global economics. While the U.S., with a similar population, is showing signs of economic recovery and unemployment rates are trending down, the eurozone and many other European countries are teetering on the edge of a double-dip recession.
An estimated 19.07 million people were officially out of work in the eurozone in February, nearly two million more than the same month the year before. Meanwhile, the 27-country European Union which includes the eurozone has an unemployment rate of 10.9 percent.
Greece has suffered the ravages of a deep recession for six years and in December had an unemployment rate of 26.4 percent while February’s rate, due out soon, is thought to be even higher.
"The economic and social consequences of high unemployment continue to represent one of the most significant threats to the future of the eurozone," said Marie Diron, senior economic adviser at Ernst & Young.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has weathered the economic crisis well, with a current unemployment rate of 5.4 percent – however that figure was released before the Cyprus crisis that saw banks close after depositors made a run on banks there.
The sudden need for a bailout of that island nation’s economy along with Greece and massive loans likely required by the economies of Spain and Italy to stay afloat have financial analysts worried.
"Such unacceptably high levels of unemployment are a tragedy for Europe and a signal of how serious a crisis some eurozone countries are now in," said EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor.
Germany, with its relatively stable economy and low unemployment rates, has invested far more in bailout funds than other eurozone countries and has far more to lose in potential loan payment defaults. Politicians in Berlin are growing weary of providing mass cash infusions through bailout loans to countries that seem unprepared to repay their debts.
More about erozone bailouts, eurozone unemployment, cyprus bailout, germany bailout spain greece
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