Unemployment across the eurozone soared to yet another new record as analysts warned that the jobs pain would continue for months to come.
The figures showed 19.07 million looking for work across the 17-nation bloc in February, an increase of 33,000 over the month.
The unemployment rate remained unmoved at 12 per cent, but the split between the region's strugglers was also underlined as Greece and Spain's economies wilt under jobless rates of 26.4 per cent and 26.3 per cent respectively. This contrasts with rates of 4.8 per cent in Austria and 5.4 per cent in Germany.
The data adds pressure on the European Central Bank to take further action this week. The eurozone economy was in recession throughout 2012, and the downturn in the region's manufacturing base deepened in March.
The ING Bank economist Martin van Vliet said: "An end to the eurozone's labour market downturn is not yet in sight. The best we can probably hope for is for unemployment to stop increasing later this year."Reuse content