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Euro zone unemployment hits record 11.1 percent

Spain was hardest hit at 24.6 percent, with 52.1 percent of its youth unemployed, according to the EU statistical agency, Eurostat.

euro zone 7 2 2012Enlarge
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Cyprus's president Demetris Christofias speak during the euro zone meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on June 29, 2012. (GUIDO BERGMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

The euro zone unemployment rate rose to 11.1 percent in May from 11 percent the previous month, according to official figures showed.

Spain was hardest hit at 24.6 percent, according to Agence France-Presse, citing figures from the European Union statistical agency, Eurostat. And 52.1 percent of that country's youth were unemployed, the Associated Press added.

Greece's jobless rate was 21.9 percent, according to RTT News.

It was at its lowest in Austria and the Netherlands, with 4.1 percent and 5.1 percent unemployment rates respectively, Dow Jones reported.

The euro zone unemployment rate was reportedly the highest since the current statistical series began in 1995, and compares with an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent in the US and only 4.4 percent in Japan.

A total of 17.6 million people were out of work in the euro zone in May, the figures showed — 1.8 million higher than a year earlier.

In the wider 27-nation EU, unemployment rose to 10.3 percent from 10.2 in April — equating to 24.86 million men and women.

Unemployment in the euro zone has now been stalled above 10 percent for 13 months in a row, with concerns over the debt crisis and the future of the euro weighing on economic activity.

Some say an austerity drive and other measures agreed to by European leaders to spur growth has choked the economy.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120702/euro-zone-unemployment-111-percent-eurostat-data-agency