Jobless ranks in the crisis-plagued eurozone have swollen further as growth seems hampered by too much austerity in many nations. Youth unemployment has also reached a new record.
The unemployment rate in the 17-member currency union hit a record 12.1 percent in March, the European statistics agency Eurostat reported on Tuesday.
The new figures added another month of swelling jobless lines in the bloc where the number of people out of work has increased relentlessly since mid-2011. March saw another 62,000 people join the jobless ranks, bringing the total to 19.2 million in the eurozone, up by 1.7 million from a year earlier.
The figure includes about 3.6 million people aged 18 to 25, with the youth unemployment rate now standing at 24 percent. Greece and Spain remained the worst affected nations in the bloc, logging jobless rates of about 27 percent.
On Tuesday, Germany's Federal Employment Agency (BA) also warned that the number of people out of work in the country had decreased less than expected in April. More than 3 million people are unemployed within Germany.
The agency pointed out that, in seasonally adjusted terms, the number of jobless Germans even increased by 4,000 month-on-month.
"The first quarter of the year went worse than we'd forecast, not least to a long and cold winter," BA chief Frank-Jürgen Weise said in a statement in Nuremberg. "But if nothing terrible happens, we should soon be able to push unemployment below the 3 million threshold again."
hg/mkg (dpa, Reuters)