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More than 20 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits over the last four weeks, according to Department of Labor filings.

Another 5.2 million Americans lost their jobs last week as businesses remain shut amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The economic crisis comes as the number of US virus cases exceeds 629,000.

The surging joblessness is a stark reversal for the world’s biggest economy where the unemployment rate had been hovering around 3.5%. Economists now expect that rate to have hit double digits.

While the 5.2 million new claims in the week ended April 11 were down from 6.6 million the previous week, the numbers still eclipse prior records.

Many economists warn that elevated numbers will linger, with Goldman Sachs researchers expecting some 37 million claims by the end of May.

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Electronics chain Best Buy this week said it would furlough more than 50,000 employees, while Royal Caribbean Cruises announced it would cut or suspend about a quarter of its American workforce.

The moves come as retail sales plunged by a record 8.7%, while manufacturing output dropped by the most in more than 74 years.

The US has expanded its unemployment program, making disbursements bigger and more people – including the self-employed – eligible. Requests to participate have overwhelmed state offices, which process the applications.

On April 16, the Small Business Administration, which is in charge of administering that $349 billion program, announced it had run out of money.

President Donald Trump is expected to issue “new guidelines” for reopening the economy in parts of the country where experts believe the rate of infection is under control.

On April 15, the president said: “There has to be a balance. We have to get back to work.”

According to the latest figures from the Labor Department, the US economy created 288,000 jobs in April, the strongest monthly job creation since January 2012.

The largest jobs gain came in professional and business services, which added 75,000 jobs during the month.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, according to the Labor Department.

However, economists caution that figure was flattered by a sharp decline in the size of the labor force.

The US economy created 288,000 jobs in April, the strongest monthly job creation since January 2012

The US economy created 288,000 jobs in April, the strongest monthly job creation since January 2012

Nevertheless it is the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008.

There was also some disappointment over weak wage growth. Average hourly earnings in the private sector did not increase in April and over the past year wages are up a modest 1.9%.

The latest unemployment figures are another piece of evidence showing that the US economy is recovering from a harsh winter.

The weather was blamed for a sharp slowdown in US growth in the first quarter to an annual rate of 0.1%.

But economists say Friday’s strong job report underlines that the GDP figures released on Wednesday were an anomaly.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve continued to cut back its effort to boost the economy.

The Fed said it would trim its monthly bond purchases by an additional $10 billion to $45 billion.

The central bank has been buying bonds to keep long-term interest rates low and stimulate economic activity.

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The US economy added 192,000 new jobs in March 2014, in line with expectations, as the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7%.

Severe weather over the winter did not prevent the monthly average for new jobs from continuing a climb towards pre-economic crisis levels.

Employment grew in health care, and professional and business services, and in mining and logging.

The US Federal Reserve has been watching employment rates as an indicator of economic health.

The US economy added 192,000 new jobs in March 2014

The US economy added 192,000 new jobs in March 2014

The Fed has been using such indicators to judge whether a cutting back on stimulus for the US economy is desirable.

The March jobs figures were broadly in line with economists’ expectations of 200,000 new posts per month for 2014, while the number of people who were unemployed remained at 10.5 million.

In March, business services added 57,000 jobs, with 29,000 of those roles being in the temporary help industry.

Computer systems design and related jobs, which fall under business services, added 6,000 posts.

Healthcare gained 19,000 new jobs, and ambulatory healthcare, which includes outpatient care, rose by 20,000. Nursing care lost 5,000 jobs over the period.

Mining and logging rose by 7,000 jobs, against an average growth of 3,000 roles per month over the previous year.

On Friday, jobs figures for February were revised up from an estimate of 175,000 to 197,000 new jobs.

The estimate for January was also revised up, from 129,000 to 144,000.

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According to US Labor Department figures, the US economy added 175,000 new jobs in February, but the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.7%.

The jobs figures were better than many had been expecting and marked a rebound from two weak months.

It had been thought the figures would be affected by recent harsh weather, which had hit much of the country.

But the unemployment rate, based on different statistics, went up slightly from January’s 6.6% to 6.7%.

February’s jobs figure – known as non-farm payrolls and based on a survey of employers – compares with the 129,000 new jobs created in January.

Analysts had been expecting a rise of about 150,000 last month.

A large chunk of the gains came from financial and other services, which were responsible for an extra 79,000 jobs.

February 2014 jobs figures were better than many had been expecting and marked a rebound from two weak months

February 2014 jobs figures were better than many had been expecting and marked a rebound from two weak months

Construction companies, many of which had been affected by the bad weather, added 15,000 jobs.

But the information sector lost 16,000 jobs, most of them in film and sound recording.

Average hourly earnings in the private sector rose by 3.7%, or about nine cents, to $24.31, the figures show. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2%.

The unemployment rate is calculated from a different survey, of households, and rose slightly from its lowest level since October 2008. It leaves the total number of unemployed relatively unchanged at 10.5 million.

However, the same survey shows the number of long-term unemployed (defined as those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million.

Cold and snowy weather, which has disrupted much of the country, was one of the reasons 601,000 people with jobs stayed at home last month, according to the survey.

The US Federal Reserve has said the severe winter was to blame for recent weaknesses in jobs numbers, retail sales and housebuilding.

Analysts see the latest figures as further evidence the apparent slowdown was only a blip.

The stronger-than-expected figures are likely to mean the Federal Reserve will continue to withdraw extra support from the economy – a process known as tapering.

The Fed had been spending $85 billion a month buying bonds, but has now reduced that to $65 billion and plans to cut the program by $10 billion each month.

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The US Labor Department has announced that the country’s economy added 162,000 new jobs in July.

The figure – which measures the number of jobs outside the US farming sector – was below economists’ expectations of more than 180,000 and the government also cut its previous estimates for hiring in May and June.

Nonetheless, the new jobs helped the unemployment rate to fall to 7.4%.

That was down from 7.6% and is the lowest jobless rate in four years.

The news adds to the picture of a slowly growing US economy and may make its central bank more likely to end its monetary stimulus programme.

The Federal Reserve is currently buying $85 billion a month in bonds which helps to keep borrowing costs low.

However, there is much speculation as to when the Fed will start to rein in this stimulus programme.

US economy added 162,000 new jobs in July

US economy added 162,000 new jobs in July

Its chairman, Ben Bernanke, has said that it might start cutting down the rate of bond buying by the end of the year and stop altogether by the middle of 2014, depending on the strength of the economy.

Earlier this week, figures showed that the US economy grew at a faster-than-expected annualized pace of 1.7% in the second quarter of the year.

That was up from the growth rate for the first three months of 2013, which was revised lower to 1.1% from 1.8%.

Gordon Charlop, of Rosenblatt Securities said the figures were moderately encouraging: “The idea that the unemployment dropped at all, went below 7.6%, is showing that the trend is going the right way.

“We’re sort of grinding along here. We’re not surging. I don’t think there’s anything here that will cause the Fed to do anything significant.”

Revisions to previous months’ data saw May’s jobs increase downgraded to 176,000, below the 195,000 previously estimated, while June’s increase was lowered to 188,000, from the 195,000 originally reported.

Paul Ashworth, chief economist at Capital Economics, said despite that, the employment picture was much brighter than last year: “While July itself was a bit disappointing, the Fed will be looking at the cumulative improvement.

“On that score, the unemployment rate has fallen from 8.1% last August, to 7.4% this July, which is a significant improvement.”

Other figures released on Friday confirmed the picture of moderate economic growth.

US consumer spending and inflation both rose in June, with the US Commerce Department saying spending was 0.5% higher and annual inflation running at 1.3% – although that is still well below the US target of 2%.

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According to official figures, the US economy added a net 195,000 new jobs in June.

The figure was well above economists’ expectations of 165,000. Revisions to data for April and May added a further 70,000 jobs to previous estimates.

The jobless rate remained steady at 7.6% of the workforce, according to the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The dollar and US bond yields jumped as markets expectations rose that interest rates will start rising in a year.

The euro fell three quarters of a cent against the dollar to $1.282, while gold fell almost 3% to $1,214.36 an ounce.

The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds rose from 2.5% to 2.68% to their highest level in almost two years.

Treasury bonds – the US government’s cost of borrowing – provide an indication of when markets expect the US Federal Reserve to begin raising interest rates, with many analysts now predicting that a move could come as soon as the end of 2014.

The news was initially welcomed on Wall Street, where the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all opened higher.

The US economy added a net 195,000 new jobs in June

The US economy added a net 195,000 new jobs in June

They turned negative mid-morning but regained the higher ground by afternoon trading.

“US employment data came out on the strong side of expectations,” wrote Brown, Brothers, & Harriman in a note to clients.

“The jobs data will strengthen expectations of tapering Fed asset purchases.”

Economists paid close attention to the number this month due to concerns that the US Federal Reserve might begin to wind down – or “taper” – its policy of propping up the US economy by buying up debts with newly-created money.

Comments by chairman Ben Bernanke in June that indicated that positive economic data in the coming months might lead to tapering of the Fed’s bond buying had roiled markets.

If the US economy continues to add jobs at this pace, the unemployment rate should fall from its current 7.6% to 6.5% by the end of 2014. This is the number the Fed has said the US jobs market must reach before it will end its programme of suppressing rates.

Leisure and hospitality jobs saw the biggest gains in June, as employers hired workers for the summer season.

The data eased fears that the “sequester” – a package of austerity measures that hit the economy in January – would have a negative impact on the jobs market.

The government shed 7,000 jobs in June, slightly less than expected.

Manufacturing, once a bright spot of the recovery, has continued its recent trend of job losses.

This has prompted some to question President Barack Obama’s commitment to the manufacturing sector.

“The president laid out a goal of creating a million new manufacturing jobs in his second term. That effort is off to a terrible start,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, an industry trade group.

The broader rate of unemployment – which includes those who would like a full-time job but can only find part-time work, as well as those who have given up looking for a job – increased slightly in June to 14.3%.

While the number of long-term unemployed workers has declined by more than one million over the past year, more than 4.3 million Americans have still been out of work for more than half a year, making up more than a third of the overall unemployed population.

With so many still out of work, pressure on wages has been modest, with hourly earnings rising by 0.2% this June, bringing the total rise for the year to 2.2%.

That is slightly ahead of the US inflation rate, with consumer prices having risen by just 1.4% in June from a year earlier.

The slow rate of wage growth and the large supply of willing workers mean that, while the American recovery continues to pick up steam, pressure on prices continues to be modest.

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Eurozone unemployment rate reached new record high of 12% in February 2013, according to the official figures.

The number of people unemployed in eurozone, which includes 17 states, rose by 33,000 during February 2013, to hit 19.07 million, the statistics agency Eurostat said.

Eurozone unemployment rate reached new record high of 12 percent in February 2013

Eurozone unemployment rate reached new record high of 12 percent in February 2013

The highest rate was 26.4% in Greece, although the most recent figure for the country was from December.

The new figures from Eurostat have also confirmed a deterioration in the eurozone’s manufacturing sector in March.

The final Markit manufacturing PMI index for the month fell to 46.8, slightly higher than an initial estimate but below the 47.9 recorded in February.

Any score below 50 indicates a contraction in the sector.

Eurozone unemployment rate rose to a new record high in January, official figures show.

The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 11.9% in January from 11.8% in December, the statistics agency Eurostat said.

The highest rate was 27% in Greece, although the most recent figure there was from November, while the lowest rate was 4.9% in Austria.

Eurostat also said eurozone inflation had fallen to 1.8% in February.

The inflation figure was the lowest for two years, putting it in line with the European Central Bank’s (ECB) inflation target of below, but close to 2%.

The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 11.9 percent in January 2013 from 11.8 percent in December 2012

The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 11.9 percent in January 2013 from 11.8 percent in December 2012

Analysts said that the high unemployment and low figure for inflation would make it more likely that the ECB would cut its interest rates later in the year from the current rate of 0.75%.

“All the data is supporting a rate cut, which we see in the second quarter,” said Sarah Hewin from Standard Chartered.

“They could move as early as next week, but there’s an element of the ECB wanting to keep its powder dry as we enter an uncertain political situation with Italy and the Cypriot debt question has to be resolved.”

The highest unemployment rates among countries that have reported their January figures were 26.2% in Spain and 17.6% in Portugal.

Unemployment in the 27 countries that make up the European Union rose to 10.8% in January from 10.7% the previous month.

US economy has added 157,000 jobs in January 2013, which was slightly below forecasts, but the number of new jobs at the end of 2012 was revised up significantly, official data has shown.

In November and December, the Labor Department’s revised figures showed that 127,000 more jobs were created than initially thought.

But the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% in January, from 7.8% in December.

In 2012, an average of 181,000 jobs a month were created, the data showed.

The news helped lift shares on Wall Street to levels not seen since before the financial crisis. In early trading the Dow Jones index rose above 14,000 for the first time since October 2007.

The unemployment rate is based on a survey of households, while the job creation figure is taken from a survey of employers.

On Wednesday, government data indicated that the US economy unexpectedly shrank at an annualized rate of 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Meanwhile, an industry survey on Friday said that the US manufacturing sector grew in January at the fastest pace for nine months.

The latest purchasing managers’ index from financial data firm Markit rose to 55.8 last month, up from 54 in December. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

US economy has added 157,000 jobs in January 2013, which was slightly below forecasts

US economy has added 157,000 jobs in January 2013, which was slightly below forecasts

Markit said that its latest survey “suggests the underlying health of the industrial sector continues to improve, and rising production will help the economy return to growth in the first quarter, provided there are no set-backs in coming months”.

The Labor Department said that in January, jobs were created in retail, construction, healthcare and wholesale trade, but jobs were lost in transportation and warehousing.

Employment in retail rose by 33,000, compared with an average monthly gain of 20,000 in 2012.

Employment in construction rose by 28,000. The Labor Department said that the industry had created 296,000 jobs since falling to a low in January 2011, but added that the current level of employment was still some two million below its previous peak in April 2006.

Healthcare added 23,000 jobs in January, while wholesale trade added 15,000.

There was little change in manufacturing employment, which has been essentially flat since July 2012.

On the downside, couriers and messengers lost 19,000 jobs, after strong seasonal hiring in November and December came to an end.

Darrell Cronk, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank in New York, said: “Like most of our jobs reports, it seems like every month, there is something for everybody in this one – there are positives and negatives.

“It was certainly below expectations and a slight negative that we saw a tick up in the unemployment rate from 7.8% to 7.9%, especially with the labour force participation rate staying where it is, which suggests there aren’t a vast influx of those unemployed/underemployed coming back being job seekers. That was disappointing.”

Eurozone unemployment rate hit a new all-time high of 11.8% in November, official figures have shown.

This is a slight rise on 11.7% for the 17-nation region in October. The rate for the European Union as a whole in November was unchanged at 10.7%.

Spain, which is mired in deep recession, again recorded the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 26.6%.

More than 26 million people are now unemployed across the EU.

For the eurozone, the number of people without work reached 18.8 million said Eurostat, the official European statistics agency said.

Greece had the second-highest unemployment rate in November, at 20%.

The youth unemployment rate was 24.4% in the eurozone, and 23.7% in the wider European Union. Youth unemployment – among people under 25 – was highest in Greece (57.6%), followed by Spain (56.5%).

Overall unemployment was lowest in Austria (4.5%), Luxembourg (5.1%) and Germany (5.4%).

Eurozone unemployment rate hit a new all-time high of 11.8 percent in November 2012

Eurozone unemployment rate hit a new all-time high of 11.8 percent in November 2012

The eurozone and wider European Union economies are struggling with recession as government measures to reduce sovereign debt levels have impacted on economic growth.

However, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday that he believed the worst was over.

Jose Manuel Barroso said the turning point was last September’s promise from the European Central Bank to buy unlimited amounts of eurozone states’ debts.

But in the view of the UK’s Institute of Directors, whose members rely on demand from trading partners in the eurozone, this “has bought time, but that is all it has done”.

“It is clear that the economic implosion of several member states continues at a troubling pace,” said the business group’s chief economist Graeme Leach.

“The headline figures spell bad news, but that is compounded by the political and human impact of terrifying levels of youth unemployment in Spain, Greece and Italy.

“This saga is far from over, whatever President Barroso may believe, and it seems it is set to get worse in 2013.”

Rabobank economist Jan Foley said the rise in unemployment was “the other side of austerity or structural reform.”

“There is a very worrying picture painted by these numbers, and governments do need to wonder if they need more pro-growth strategies in the next few years,” she said.

The record low for the eurozone unemployment rate was 7.2%, which was recorded in February 2008, before the financial crisis that first gripped the banking sector spread to the real economy.

The historic low for the eurozone youth unemployment rate was 15% in March 2008.

Eurozone unemployment rate hit a new record high in October, while consumer price rises slowed sharply.

The jobless rate in the recessionary euro area rose to 11.7%. Inflation fell from 2.5% to 2.2% in November.

The data came as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi warned the euro would not emerge from its crisis until the second half of next year.

Government spending cuts would continue to hurt growth in the short-term, Mario Draghi said.

The unemployment rate continued its steady rise, reaching 11.7% in October, up from 11.6% the month before and 10.4% a year ago.

A further 173,000 were out of work across the single currency area, bringing the total to 18.7 million.

The respective fortunes of northern and southern Europe diverged further. In Spain, the jobless rate rose to 26.2% from 25.8% the previous month, and in Italy it rose to 11.1% from 10.8%.

In contrast, unemployment in Germany held steady at 5.4% of the labor force, while in Austria it fell from 4.4% to just 4.3%.

Data earlier this month showed that the eurozone had returned to a shallow recession in the three months to September, shrinking 0.1% during the quarter, following a 0.2% contraction the previous quarter.

The less competitive southern European economies, such as Spain and Italy – where governments have had to push through hefty spending cuts to get their borrowing under control, and crisis-struck banks have been cutting back their lending – have been in recession for over a year.

But the economies of Germany and France have also begun to weaken. Growth in the eurozone’s two biggest economies came in at a disappointing 0.2%.

And more recent data suggests that both core eurozone economies have continued to skirt recession during the autumn.

Retail sales in Germany shrank 2.8% in October versus the previous month, down 0.8% from a year earlier, according to data released on Friday. Analysts had expected the country to record unchanged or moderately growing sales.

Meanwhile, separate data showed consumer spending in France shrank 0.2% in October versus the previous month, with spending on cars and other durable goods hardest hit.

The sharp slowdown in the eurozone’s consumer price index, to 2.2% in November, is also symptomatic of the weakness of spending.

However, the inflation data may also open the door to further measures by the ECB to boost the economy, as the index fell much closer to the central bank’s 2% target rate.

“We have not yet emerged from the crisis,” said Mario Draghi, speaking on pan-European radio.

“The recovery of the eurozone will certainly begin in the second half of 2013.

“It’s true that the budgetary consolidation entails a short-term contraction of economic activity, but this budgetary consolidation is inevitable.”

Despite Mario Draghi’s warning, and the generally poor state of the eurozone economy, markets have begun to take a far more sanguine view of the single currency’s future.

Italy’s implicit cost of borrowing in the financial markets has fallen to its lowest level in two years, dropping to an implied interest rate of about 4.5% for 10-year debt.

Spain is able to borrow from markets at a 10-year rate of about 5.5% – far below the 7%-8% rate being demanded over the summer.

Mario Draghi conceded that the announcement of the ECB’s willingness to buy up potentially unlimited amounts of government debt had boosted market confidence, even though no eurozone government had actually taken up the ECB’s offer yet.

However, borrowing costs in southern Europe still remain elevated compared with France and especially Germany. Berlin is currently able to borrow for 10 years at 1.37%, close to an all-time low.

“For now, what the ECB has done is to stop the bleeding,” said Stephen Gallo at RBS.

“The central bank needs to close the gap in loan borrowing costs between the periphery and the core.”

However, Stephen Gallo said in his view the only way to do this was for the eurozone to move ahead with its “banking union” – which includes putting all eurozone banks under a common regulator, and creating a pan-eurozone scheme for guaranteeing bank accounts.

He was echoing the view of Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, who on Friday said that creating a single deposit guarantee system should be Europe’s top priority, more important than getting government budgets under control.

Fears over a possible government default or exit from the eurozone have made it much harder for Spanish and Italian banks to borrow, and put them at risk of a sudden exodus of depositors. This in turn has undermined the banks’ role in supporting their respective national economies.

Official figures from the Labor Department show the US economy added 171,000 new jobs in October, which was much more than had been expected.

However, the official figures showed that the unemployment rate still rose to 7.9%, having fallen to 7.8% in September, as more workers resumed the search for jobs.

Only people who are currently looking for a job count as unemployed.

Unemployment is one of the key issues ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election.

The figures were the last major set of economic data scheduled before the election and the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, has made the state of the jobs market one of the central planks of his campaign.

“Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill,” Mitt Romney said.

“The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work.”

The number of jobs created in the previous two months was revised upwards, with an extra 34,000 jobs added in September and 50,000 added in August.

Despite the new jobs, Barack Obama will still go to the polls with the highest rate of unemployment of any president seeking re-election since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

But the rise in the rate of unemployment may be seen as a sign of confidence in the economy, because it was caused by people who had given up looking for work returning to the job market, analysts say.

The total workforce, which is the number of people either working or looking for jobs, rose 578,000 in October.

“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the US economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” said Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in a statement from the White House.

“It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

The Labor Department said in its release that Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast of the US on 29 October, had had “no discernible effect” on the employment data.

The number of involuntary part-time workers, who would prefer to be working full-time, fell 269,000 to 8.3 million, having risen by 582,000 in September.

Kathy Jones from Charles Schwab said they were good numbers, but warned that: “We’re way short of where we need to be to bring down the unemployment rate to where the Federal Reserve would like to see, closer to 6% than 8%.”

“We would need to see twice as many jobs as we’re seeing, but the direction has improved.”

The average number of jobs added per month so far in 2012 has been 157,000, which is slightly ahead of the average of 153,000 in 2011.

The category adding the most jobs in October was professional and business services, followed by healthcare and retailing.

There was also a small increase in employment in the construction sector, which has been helped by a pick-up in house building.

The average working week was 34.4 hours for the fourth month in a row, while the average hourly wage was down one cent at $23.58.

Despite there being signs of momentum in the jobs market, there is great concern in the US about what 2013 will bring.

Whoever wins the presidential election will have to reach a budget agreement with legislators by the end of the year, to prevent $600 billion of tax increases and spending cuts kicking in automatically in 2013.

The measures, known as the fiscal cliff, could take the US back into recession.

There is also some uncertainty about the coming months as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Many businesses will have their work interrupted by effects of the storms. On the other hand, reconstruction on the East Coast is likely to increase employment in the construction sector.

In New York, the Dow Jones was up 1% in early trading.


Eurozone unemployment rate hit to a new high of 18.49 million in September, the EU statistics agency has said.

The number of people out of work rose by 146,000, pushing the unemployment rate up to 11.6%. This compares with 10.3% a year earlier.

The highest unemployment rate was recorded in Spain, where 25.8% of the workforce is out of a job, and the lowest of 4.4% was recorded in Austria.

In Spain and Greece, more than half the workforce aged under 25 has no job.

The lowest youth unemployment rate of 8% was recorded in Germany, where 5.4% of the overall workforce is out of work.

The eurozone as a whole is struggling to generate the economic growth needed to stimulate employment. Its economy shrank by 0.2% between April and June, with Italy and Spain stuck in recession and France registering no growth for the past three quarters.

The notable exception is the German economy, Europe’s biggest, which grew by 0.3% in the second quarter.

Growth there is expected to slow when preliminary figures for eurozone GDP between August and October will be published on 15 November.

Across the wider 27-nation European Union, unemployment rose by 169,000 to 25.75 million people, Eurostat said, with the unemployment rate rising slightly to 10.6%.

September unemployment rates

• Spain: 25.8%

• Portugal: 15.7%

• Italy: 10.8%

• France: 10.8%

• Germany: 5.4%

• Eurozone: 11.6%

• US: 7.8%

• Japan: 4.2%

Source: Eurostat


The Federal Reserve has reiterated that the US economy is only growing slowly, and that the country’s unemployment rate “remains elevated”.

However, the Fed added that the housing market had “shown some further signs of improvement”.

The comments came as the US central bank kept interest rates on hold at between zero and 0.25%, as had been widely expected.

The Fed is also continuing with a third round of quantitative easing (QE).

Under QE a central bank pumps fresh money into the financial system to try to boost lending, and through that the wider economy.

As announced following the Fed’s September rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee meeting, it is buying $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities per month, for an open-ended period.

The Fed has previously spent $2.3 trillion over two rounds of QE.

Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at Worldwide Markets, said: “No change in Fed policy was anticipated and none was delivered.”


Latest official figures show that unemployment in Greece hit a record 25.1% in July, with the level among young people reaching 54.2%.

Greece’s statistical authority said 1.26 million Greeks were jobless in July, with more than 1,000 jobs lost every day over the past year.

With austerity cuts continuing and Greece likely to enter another year of recession, the level may rise further.

The worst-affected 15-24 age group, however, includes those in education.

According to Greece’s statistics agency the total unemployment rate rose from 24.8% in June. In July 2008, a year before Greece’s financial crisis broke, there were about 364,000 registered unemployed.

“This is a very dramatic result of the recession,” said Angelos Tsakanikas, head of research at Greece’s IOBE economic research foundation. He did not expect employment to pick up for at least a year.

The Greek economy is surviving on international bailouts, but Athens has been forced to impose tough austerity measures in return for the money.

Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras will hold talks on Thursday evening with representatives of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank about signing off the release of more funds.

There was some evidence on Thursday that the government’s strategy is working on one front, at least. Finance Ministry figures showed that the deficit-cutting effort is on track despite lower-than-anticipated revenues.

The ministry figures showed that the January-September deficit was 12.64 billion euros, lower than the 13.5 billion-euro target.


Spain will set out today its austerity budget for 2013, against a backdrop of a deteriorating economy and 25% unemployment rate.

Madrid is expected to outline 39 billion euros ($50 billion) worth of savings, tax rises, and structural reforms.

It comes amid further protests this week, and growing expectations that Spain will seek a bailout from its eurozone partners.

On Friday, results of a stress test on Spain’s banks are due to be released.

The Spanish stock exchange’s Ibex index held steady in morning trading on Thursday, having lost 3.9% the previous day.

Other European stock markets experienced modest rebounds of about 0.5%.

Spain will set out today its austerity budget for 2013

Spain will set out today its austerity budget for 2013

Stocks fell sharply on Wednesday, as markets were rattled by violent protests in Madrid and Athens, as well as a statement from the Spanish central bank that the country’s economy had continued to shrink in the third quarter of the year.

However, the more optimistic sentiment was boosted on Thursday when the Greek finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, said that a “basic agreement” had been reached with lenders on the austerity measures required for the release of Greece’s next tranche of bailout money.

On the bond markets, the Spanish government’s long-term cost of borrowing stabilized in early trading, at an implied interest rate of just over 6% for 10-year debt.

The 10-year rate had risen by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday, as lenders’ fears over the government’s ability to repay its debts, or stay within the euro, resurfaced.

However, it seems investors are losing patience.

Spain will hope that Thursday’s austerity measures will mean fewer economic conditions if it asks for a second bailout.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fuelled expectations that Spain would ask for a bailout when he told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that if borrowing costs were “too high for too long”, then “I can assure you 100% that I would ask for this bailout”.

The economic situation remains grim, with comments from the central bank on Wednesday indicating that the country’s recession deepened in the last three months.

“Available data for the third quarter of the year suggest output continued to fall at a significant pace, in an environment in which financial tension remained at very high levels,” the Bank of Spain said in a monthly report.

Last week, Spain’s second biggest bank, BBVA, estimated that up to another 60 billion euros ($78 billion) will be needed to bail out the banking sector.

About 20 billion euros has already been allocated to troubled banks.

Spain, the eurozone’s fourth largest economy, fell back into recession in the last quarter of 2011, the second recession since the bursting of the country’s property bubble.

But with a shrinking economy and unrest in the country, reducing the deficit via further austerity measures may prove a difficult task for the government.

The government has predicted a budget deficit this year of about 6.3%, but many analysts estimate it will be nearer 7% or higher.

The basic outline for the budget has been known since July, but not exactly where the cuts and savings will come from.

There has been speculation that the budget could include such measures as taxes on shares transactions, “green taxes” on emissions or eliminating tax breaks, and even possibly ending inflation-linked pensions.

Madrid has already said that it wants to claw back a total of more than 150 billion euros between 2012 and 2014: 62 billion euros this year, 39 billion euros in 2013, and 50 billion euros in 2014.

But many analysts remain skeptical that this will be enough to resolve Spain’s economic woes.

Despite the public anger, PM Mariano Rajoy said sacrifices were necessary.

“We know what we have to do, and since we know it, we’re doing it,” he said in a speech in New York.

“We also know this entails a lot of sacrifices distributed… evenly throughout the Spanish society,” he said.

But Boris Schlossberg, managing director at New York-based BK Asset, said: “Spain is in a vicious cycle, because austerity is hurting economic activity and revenues, which causes greater fiscal gaps.”

“People are starting to realize this, and the political will to absorb these sacrifices is diminishing by the hour,” he said.


The US economy created 96,000 jobs in August, according to official figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is less than was expected.

However, the figure was lower than expected and revisions to June and July data mean that 41,000 fewer jobs were created than previously reported.

Analysts had expected non-farm payrolls to grow by 125,000 last month.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1%, compared with 8.3% in July, but only because more people gave up looking for work.

The US economy created 96,000 jobs in August, according to official figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The US economy created 96,000 jobs in August, according to official figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment increased in food services and drinking places, professional and technical services and healthcare during August, the Bureau said.

Employment growth has averaged 139,000 a month in 2012, the Bureau said, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.

The percentage of Americans who either have a job or who are looking for one fell to 63.5%, the lowest participation rate since 1981.

The weak figures could put pressure on President Barack Obama in his re-election campaign, given than rival Mitt Romney has put jobs at the centre of the national debate.

Mitt Romney described the figures as “more of the same for middle-class families who are suffering through the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression”.

He claims his economic plan will create 12 million new jobs by the end of his first term.

The figures are also seen as making it more likely that the US Federal Reserve will provide further economic stimulus measures in the form of quantitative easing, as hinted at by chairman Ben Bernanke in a speech on 31 August.

A survey released on Tuesday indicated that growth in the US manufacturing sector remained weak.

The Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 51.5 in August compared with 51.4 in July. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Figures released last week showed that the US economy grew at an annualized pace of 1.7% in the second quarter of the year.