Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Eurozone jobless worst since 1999

Job centre in eastern Germany
September's eurozone unemployment was the worst since 1999

Unemployment levels across the 16 countries that use the euro rose to 9.7% in September, the highest rate since January 1999.

This brought the number of people unemployed across the eurozone region to 15.3 million.

The rate across all 27 members of the European Union rose to 9.2%, with 286,000 more people now jobless. This brings the total to 22.12 million.

Spain has the highest eurozone unemployment rate at 19.3%.

Youth unemployment

Latvia has the EU's highest rate at 19.7%. The lowest rate of 3.6% was recorded in the Netherlands.

Latvia 19.7%
Spain 19.3%
Lithuania 13.8%
Estonia 13.3%
Republic of Ireland 13%
Figures for September. Source: Eurostat

Job losses have been particularly acute among the under-25s.

Eurostat, who released the figures, said the youth unemployment rate in the eurozone had soared to 20.1% in September from 15.7% a year earlier.

Further rises

In September, the European Commission said the eurozone economy was emerging from recession, while Germany and France exited recession in the second quarter of this year.

But the benefits of recovery have yet to filter through to labour markets.

Most economists expect the jobless numbers to keep rising into next year.

Netherlands 3.6%
Austria 4.8%
Cyprus 5.9%
Slovenia 5.9%
Denmark 6.4%
Romania 6.4%
Figures for September. Source: Eurostat

"The unemployment rate will continue to rise in coming months, "said Nick Kounis at Fortis.

"What you tend to see in Europe is that labour market adjustments take some time, especially compared to the US, where jobs are slashed much more quickly."

Christoph Weil at Commerzbank expects unemployment will peak at around 11% at the end of 2010.


Figures for the rate of inflation in the 16 eurozone nations have also been released and show that they have remained negative for a fifth consecutive month in October.

Consumer prices were down 0.1% from a year earlier, compared with a 0.3% annual drop in September.

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