EU: Unemployment rate rises to 6.6 percent

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About 397,000 people have lost their jobs in the European Union in April, raising the unemployment rate in the 27-country alliance by 0.2 percentage points after most European countries imposed coronavirus containment measures.

The European Union’s official statistics agency reported unemployment at 6.6 percent in April, up from 6.4 percent in March 2020.

Luxembourg-based Eurostat saw a similar rate of increase in the eurozone currency area – a 19-country group – where joblessness rose to 7.3 percent in April, a 0.2 percent increase from 7.1 percent recorded in March.

The eurozone has seen a long period of falling unemployment following a peak of more than 12 percent in 2012, though the number of people out of work differs greatly from country to country.

Greece, Italy and Spain all face stubborn labour market issues, particularly affecting younger people.