Unemployment in the EU hit a record high in December and sales before Christmas were dismal. As economists look at the Eurozone, they believe that these signs may indicate a slow emergence from the recession years. While there has been recent optimism about the eurozone’s ability to climb out of the deep banking and public debt crisis, this information is tempered by data that shows jobless rates in November were at their highest level since the introduction of the euro in 1999.
As Martin Van Vliet, an economist at ING in Amsterdam said, “A growing number of businesses are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, but consumers remain very gloomy. Consumer spending is crucial to ensure a sustainable recovery.”
Unemployment rose to 11.8 pc of the working population (which translates to 18.82 million people). The most significant rise in unemployment over the past year was in Greece, where joblessness soared to 26pc in September. This was up 7.1% over the September 2011 numbers. Austria posted the lowest unemployment rate rate in the EU at 4.5pc.