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Euro jobless rate climbs to 9.5 pct

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[September 01, 2009]  BRUSSELS (AP) -- The jobless rate in the 16 nations that use the euro climbed to a new 10-year high of 9.5 percent in July despite other signs that the economy is starting to recover, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said Tuesday.

InsuranceThe rate rose from 9.4 percent in June, with 167,000 more people seeking work in July across the euro area.

The increase comes despite data showing the recession in the region is easing. The French and German economies unexpectedly grew in the second quarter and optimism among business and consumers has improved, as companies start to restock after a spending freeze and shoppers benefit from lower prices for energy and food.

Still, joblessness continues to rise steadily: from July last year, some 3.26 million jobs have vanished in the bloc.

Unemployment in the entire 27-nation European Union rose to 9 percent in July, from 8.9 percent a month earlier. Some 5.11 million workers did not have a job, 225,000 more than in June.

Spain leads European nations with nearly one in five workers without a job -- and an unemployment rate of 18.5 percent -- as the collapse of a housing boom and a slowing tourist industry cut jobs among two of the country's biggest employers.

Younger Spanish workers are worst affected, with nearly four in 10 out of work -- or 38.4 percent of under 25-year-olds in the work force.

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For euro-zone nations, Ireland follows Spain with unemployment of 12.5 percent, while France has a 9.8 percent rate. Germany posted unemployment of 7.7 percent, according to ILO standards -- one of the lowest increases in the jobless rate over the past year, up from 7.2 percent in July 2009. A separate measure of German unemployment stands at 8.3 percent.

Unemployment has surged fastest in the three Baltic EU nations that don't use the euro. In Lithuania, the rate has climbed from 5.8 percent last July to 16.7 percent last month, Latvia has gone from 6.9 percent to 17.4 percent and Estonia has soared from 4.1 percent in the second quarter of 2008 to 13.3 percent in the second quarter of this year.

[Associated Press; By AOIFE WHITE]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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