Eurozone unemployment hits new record high 11.8%

People wait to enter a government-run employment office in Madrid January 3, 2013. (Reuters/Susana Vera)

People wait to enter a government-run employment office in Madrid January 3, 2013. (Reuters/Susana Vera)

Unemployment in the eurozone has reached a record high, increasing to 11.8 per cent in November, the EU’s statistics office reports. Spain and Greece are suffering the most with roughly one in four workers unemployed.

On Tuesday Eurostat released the detailed report about November unemployment figures and the preceding 12 months’ dynamics in the eurozone.

According to the report, some 2 million people throughout the eurozone lost their jobs between November 2011 and November 2012. The total number of jobless workers reached 18.8 million in November.

Spain and Greece top the list of the countries with the highest unemployment rate with 26.6 and 26.0 per cent (for September) respectively. The lowest rates were registered in Austria, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands.

Both Spain and Greece have been rattled by massive, sometimes violent, protests and numerous strikes throughout 2012, as people were frustrated by severe cuts and rising unemployment.

In mid-December, eurozone finance ministers approved the release of another 34-billion-euro rescue package for struggling Greece. The decision was preceded by weeks of heated negotiations.

Greece, which is balancing on the brink of default, had to pass drastic austerity measures to qualify for the rescue package from the eurozone members.

In November, Europe saw a general anti-austerity protest as millions of people in 23 countries took to the streets to mark the European Day of Action and Solidarity.