European Unemployment Hits Record High

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Spain European Union unemployment rateBy Charles Riley

The recession in Europe grinds on.

Official European Union figures published Tuesday showed unemployment in the eurozone hit a record high of 12.0% in February, and young people are paying a particularly heavy price.

The reported January rate of 11.9% was also revised up to 12.0%, meaning the continent has spent consecutive months at the new record level.

Some 19 million people are out of work in the eurozone, 3.6 million of them under the age of 25, meaning nearly one in every four young people are without a job.

More:Tough Times For Cyprus After E.U. Bailout

Compared with the same month a year earlier, the jobless total in the eurozone has increased by 1.8 million, with the depressed economies of southern Europe suffering the most.

There is little hope that Europe will return to growth this quarter, especially in the wake of a messy and tumultuous bailout for the tiny nation of Cyprus.

The European Central Bank will meet later this week to discuss monetary policy for the first time since the country's bank bailout deal was done.

The ECB remains under pressure to cut interest rates. There has been more gloomy economic news since it last met, including Italy downgrading its forecast for this year and weak sentiment survey from the European Commission.
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