Unemployment across the 17-nation eurozone hit a new record in January, indicating that the recession is engulfing more and more businesses. Youth unemployment continued to grow at a disproportionately high rate.
The number of jobless in the eurozone edged higher to 11.9 percent in January - up from the December rate of 11.8 percent - as an additional 200,000 people joined jobless queues across the 17-country currency area.
Latest data released by the EU's statistics office, Eurostat, on Friday, also showed that the wider 27-nation European Union was not better off as the jobless rate there grew to 10.8 percent from 10.7 percent in December, with 26.2 million people unemployed.
Unemployment in Europe has been rising relentlessly since 2011, with the European Union's executive Commission predicting no reprieve in 2013 as the jobless quota is expected to surpass 12 percent.
Eurostat put eurozone youth unemployment at 24.2 percent in January, which was more than 2 percent higher than in the same month a year ago. Within the total of 19 million unemployed people in the eurozone, some 3.6 million were under the age of 25.
Greece and Spain reported the worst figures, with overall unemployment hovering above 26 percent and youth unemployment nearing 60 percent. Joblessness in January was the lowest in Austria with 4.9 percent, followed by Germany and Luxembourg, both on 5.3 percent.
uhe/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)