Captain Rick: Eurostat data published Tuesday showed unemployment in the 17-nation Eurozone hit a record high of 11.8% in November, leaving 18.8 million people without work – two million more than a year ago.
At nearly 27%, Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union, and youth unemployment is more than twice as high at 56%. Thousands of Spanish bank employees will lose their jobs as a result of an EU-backed bailout of Spanish banks. Only Greece, which is facing a sixth year of recession, has a greater proportion of young people out of work.
The Eurozone economy shrank in the second and third quarters of 2012, and official data due next month are expected to confirm a contraction in fourth quarter output.
Forecasts for 2013 are not much better, ranging from stagnation to another year of recession as governments continue to grapple with the fallout of the credit crisis, cutting spending and raising taxes to rein in budget deficits.
Hopes that stronger growth in Asia and the U.S. could spark a Eurozone recovery also took a knock, as Germany said its exports fell 3.4% in November, from the previous month, and were flat year over year.
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