Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Eurozone unemployment rate hits 10%

People in line at a government employment office in Madrid
The unemployment rate in Spain has increased to 19.5%

Unemployment in the 16 countries that use the euro hit 10% in December for the first time since the single currency was introduced in 1999.

It had been reported that the rate hit 10% in November, but this has subsequently been revised down to 9.9%.

Some 15.8 million people are now out of work in the eurozone, according to Eurostat.

Across all 27 countries that make up the EU, there are now 23 million people unemployed.

Youth unemployment

Latvia has the highest jobless rate in the EU at 22.8%.

Spain continues to have the highest rate in the eurozone - rising to 19.5% in December, up from 19.4% in November.

Latvia - 22.8%
Spain - 19.5%
Estonia - 15.2%
Netherlands - 4.0%
Austria - 5.4%
Cyprus - 6.1%
Source: Eurostat

The Netherlands has the lowest jobless rate at 4%, followed by Austria at 5.4%.

Some 21% of under-25s in the eurozone were unemployed in December 2009, with Spain suffering the highest rate of all, at 44.5%.

According to Eurostat, a total of 87,000 jobs were lost across the eurozone during December. That was the lowest increase since May 2008.

Responding to the figures, Howard Archer from IHS Global Insight says eurozone unemployment will increase further in the coming year.

"Although the rise in eurozone unemployment has slowed in recent months, it still seems poised to trend higher during much, if not all, of 2010," he said.

Separate figures released by the country's National Statistics Institute show that in the final three months of 2009, 4.33 million people were unemployed in Spain.

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