LES ECHOS, LE MONDE (France), DIE ZEIT (Germany), FINANZAS (Spain), ADN-KRONOS (Italy)

Worldcrunch

PARIS - Unemployment in the crisis-hit euro zone reached a record high 18.5 million in September, Die Zeit reports Wednesday.

The EU’s statistics office Eurostat reports the euro zone jobless rate 11.6%, up from 11.5% in August, and more than a full percentage point higher than September 2011 when unemployment stood at 10.3%.

French business daily Les Echos highlights the sharp divide among the different countries of the single currency area: Austria has the lowest unemployment at only 4.4%, followed by Luxembourg at 5.2% and Germany and the Netherlands both at 5.6%. But in Greece and Spain, unemployment has skyrocketed. Spain “is the euro zone leader in unemployment,” and the situation is getting worse by the month, the Spanish business newspaper Finanzas declared.

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More than half of all young people in Spain, 54%, have no jobs. Portugal, Italy and Ireland each report that more than one-third of youths are unemployed. Only in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands was the youth unemployment rate below 10%, said the Italian news agency ADN-Kronos.

The office of the EU commissioner for employment warns of a “lost generation,” and says “Southern Europe needs our help, and not in the distant future,” reports Die Zeit.

Overall, across the continent, 28.5 million Europeans are unemployed, according to Eurostat. The figures do not include underemployed part-time workers who might prefer full-time work, jobless persons seeking a job but not immediately available, nor the “discouraged” who would like to work but have given up.

“The three groups are far from negligible in numbers: in the EU-27 in 2011 there were 8.6 million underemployed part-time workers, 2.4 million jobless persons seeking a job but not immediately available for work, and 8.6 million persons available for work but not seeking it.”

Unemployment was 7.8% in the U.S. and 4.2% in Japan during the same period, Les Echos said.

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