Eurozone jobless hits new record
Across the wider 27-country European Union, which includes non-euro countries such as Britain and Poland, unemployment edged up to 10.3% in May from 10.2% the month before.
At a summit last Friday eurozone leaders agreed a set of short- and long-term measures to shore up the euro and unveiled a limited economic growth package. Markets have responded positively with a stock market rally which, if sustained, should help buoy economic confidence in the eurozone - a key step to easing the crisis.
May's unemployment rate compares badly with an unemployment rate of 8.2% in the United States and only 4.4% in Japan, and is expected to rise further in the coming months as the eurozone economy teeters on the edge of recession.
"With the eurozone likely having suffered appreciable GDP contraction in the second quarter and in grave danger of contracting again in the third, and with eurozone business confidence generally low and fragile, the likelihood is that the eurozone unemployment rate will move significantly higher over the coming months," said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight.
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