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Eurozone unemployment rate hits record high of 10.9%

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Jobseekers queue at a job center in Madrid

The eurozone unemployment rate has hit a record high in March, rising to 10.9 percent for the first time for 15 years, official figures show.

The European Statistics Office, Eurostat, announced on Wednesday that almost 17.4 million men and women, over three million of whom were under 25, looked for work in the zone in March which is about 170-thousand more compared to February.

The joblessness rate is the highest since the launch of the euro currency in 1999.

Spain tops the list with the highest rate amongst the 17-member eurozone with 24.1 percent of its people unemployed.

Greece is close behind, though its figures date back to January, with a general jobless rate of 21.7 percent.

The lowest jobless rate in the eurozone region was recorded in Austria with only four percent of its working population unemployed.

The Netherlands, which saw its government collapse last week over disagreements on austerity measures, was not far behind at five percent.

The figures are expected to increase pressure on the region’s policymakers to take more pro-growth steps along with harsh austerity measures they have imposed on their people to fix their debt crisis, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.


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