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Euro Area Unemployment Rate Hits 1998 Levels

Date: 05.12.2009

In October, the Euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate reached the December 1998 levels.

The Euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9,8 % in October 2009, the same as in September.

The 9,8 % rate is, however, an 11-year record because this is the highest unemployment rate registered since December 1998.

The data is published Tuesday by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

In comparison, the Euro area unemployment rate was 7,9 % in October 2008.

For the 27 countries in the European Union the unemployment rate was 9,3 % in October 2009, compared with 9,2 % in September and 7,3 % in October 2008.

In November, industrial production and the service sector in the EU had made the most significant progress in the last two years, triggering optimism about the recovery of the economy. The unemployment rate, however, is expected to continue to grow at least until the second half of 2010 to reach 10,7 %, according to Juergen Michels, Citigroup's chief economic expert.

Eurostat estimates that 22 510 million men and women in the EU, of whom 15 567 million in the Euro area, were unemployed in October 2009. Compared with September, the number of persons unemployed increased by 258 000 in the EU and by 134 000 in the Euro area. Compared with October 2008, unemployment went up by 5 million in the EU and by 3 150 million in the Euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (3,7%) and Austria (4,7%), and the highest rates in Latvia (20,9%) and Spain (19,3%). Bulgaria's October unemployment rate is 7,9%.

Compared with a year ago, all Member States recorded an increase in their unemployment rate.

The smallest increases were observed in Germany (7,1% to 7,5%), Austria (4,0% to 4,7%) and Romania (5,7% to 6,4% between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009). The highest increases were registered in Latvia (9,1% to 20,9%) and Lithuania (4,8% to 13,8% between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009).

In October 2009, the unemployment rate was 10,2% in the USA and 5,1% in Japan.

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