Unemployment in the 17 nations that make up the Eurozone monetary union reached a record high in September, hitting 11.6% as 18.5 million people found themselves jobless.
That’s 146,000 more workers who lost their jobs last month, according to official European Union statistics agency Eurostat.
The region, wracked by a severe debt crisis, has watched its unemployment rate surge since early 2008, when joblessness was under 7.5%.
September’s rate, up from the upwardly revised 11.5% level in August and July, is the highest in the data set’s 17-year history. During the same month in 2011, unemployment was at 10.3%.
Spain’s 25.8% jobless rate and Greece’s 25.1% figure were again at the top of the scale for European Union members. Austria and Luxembourg, with 4.4% and 5.2% rates respectively, rounded out the bottom.
The hordes of unemployed youth continue to worry authorities. In September, 3.5 million workers under age 25 were without jobs in the euro area, up by 275,000 people from a year earlier.
That’s a 23.3% unemployment rate. In Greece, nearly 56% of all youth are out of work.
By comparison, the jobless rate in the U.S. in September was 7.8%. In Japan, it was 4.2%.