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Euro-Area May Unemployment Rate Rises to Record 12.2%

The euro-area jobless rate increased in May as the currency bloc struggled to emerge from a record-long recession, increasing pressure on its leaders and the European Central Bank to spur economic growth.

The euro-area unemployment rate rose to 12.2 percent from a revised 12.1 percent in April, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. The median of 36 economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for an increase to 12.3 percent.

The number of jobless people in the euro area rose to 19.3 million in May, up 67,000 from the previous month. Youth unemployment was at 23.9 percent. The jobless rate in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, fell to 5.3 percent, while Spain had the highest May rate at 26.9 percent.

The 17-nation economy’s 18-month recession probably ended in the second quarter, as the economy stagnated before returning to growth in the following three months, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

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