As the euro zone slipped back into recession, employment numbers dropped along with manufacturing, and the ranks of the jobless rose to about 17.13 million. That’s up 162,000 from January, and higher than at any time since June 1997—before the euro was first introduced.
Bloomberg reported that the euro zone unemployment rate rose in February, according to the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg, to 10.8% from January’s 10.7%, with Spain showing the highest percentage of unemployed at 23.6%. Germany’s jobless rate stayed the same at 5.7% for February from January, and in France the rate held at 10%. Provisional data from Italy showed an increase to 9.3% from 9.1%.
Cuts in jobs have led to a loss of confidence, which has in turn caused a contraction in manufacturing. Manufacturing continued to slow in March, according to a Markit Economics survey of purchasing managers, for the eighth month in a row. Markit’s manufacturing gauge came in at 47.7 for March, down from 49 in February.