Eurozone in crisis: One in four youths is jobless as unemployment across 17 nations in the single currency reaches record high

Total unemployment rises to 19.4 million amid fresh criticism of austerity

Young people are bearing the brunt of Europe’s jobs crisis, it was confirmed, as unemployment across the eurozone soared to a record high.

Nearly one in four 16 to 24-year-olds across the 17 nations in the single currency is now out of work, according to monthly figures published by the EU’s data office, Eurostat.

The latest 95,000 rise in April took the overall jobless count to a record 19.38 million people, or 12.2 per cent, and puts unemployment on course to breach the 20 million mark by the end of the year.

The figures come against the backdrop of a eurozone mired in its longest recession since the launch of the  single currency in 1999.

They also prompted fresh criticism of the austerity strategy being pursued by struggling southern European states, with one in four people out of work in Spain and Greece as such measures take their toll.

But young people are suffering the most, with 3.62 million out of work across the single currency bloc – 24.4 per cent of under-25s, a figure up 188,000 on a year earlier.

Well over half of those under 25 in Greece and Spain are not in work, compared to more than 40 per cent in Italy. By contrast in Germany – which has managed until recently to maintain growth despite the wider recession across the eurozone – unemployment stands at a much lower 5.4 per cent and just 7.4 per cent among under-25s.

Tom Rogers, senior economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Eurozone Forecast, warned of a “relentless” rise in youth unemployment. “Youth joblessness at these levels risks permanently entrenched unemployment, lowering the rate of sustainable growth in the future,” he said.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has cut interest rates to a record low of 0.5 per cent in a bid to spur the economy into life, but this week the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development called on the the ECB to do more to salvage a “dire situation”.

Pier Carlo Padoan, chief economist of the OECD, believes the eurozone’s lingering woes are the key risk to a global recovery and called on the ECB to adopt money-printing policies pursued by other central banks around the world, including the Bank of England.

In contrast with the eurozone’s jobless figures, the US economy has been growing steadily since emerging from recession in 2009 and its unemployment rate fell to 7.5 per cent in April. The jobless rate in the UK is also at a much lower level of 7.8 per cent, although workers have suffered real-terms pay cuts as salaries fail to keep up with the rate of inflation.

Professor Guglielmo Meardi, an expert on European employment relations at Warwick Business School, said: “After three years of labour market reforms and austerity, jobless figures are at a record high in the eurozone, while they decline elsewhere. This seriously questions the appropriateness of the tools used so far, all the more so that the countries that have reformed and cut with most zeal, Spain and Greece, are the ones with the worst results.

“In the short term, labour market deregulation facilitates dismissals but does not facilitate recruitment, so a negative economic cycle may be the wrong time to introduce it.”

The sharpest change in unemployment rates among the 17 eurozone countries was in Cyprus, which saw its jobless rate rise to 15.6 per cent from 14.5 per cent. The island became the fifth eurozone member to seek a bailout in March.

The OECD, which this week slashed its growth forecasts for the eurozone to a 0.6 per cent contraction in 2013, forecasts that unemployment will not peak until next year. Martin van Vliet, an ING Bank economist, added: “Looking ahead, an end to the eurozone labour market downturn is not yet in sight. Indeed, the European Commission’s business survey remains at levels consistent with further increases in unemployment. Even if the eurozone economy exits from recession later this year, the labour market is likely to remain in recession until next year.”

Analysts say the ECB is likely to take further measures to shore up lending to small and medium-sized businesses, which are currently not taking out loans for fear of a worsening economy and because banks are charging high rates. “So far the ECB’s actions have not translated into lower lending rates for businesses and households, failing to boost activity,” said Anna Zabrodzka, an economist at Moody’s Analytics.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape