LONDON - The eurozone economy has passed another bleak milestone.
Official figures Tuesday showed that unemployment across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro has struck 12 percent for the first time since the currency was launched in 1999. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said the rate in February was unchanged at the record high after January's figure was revised up to 12 percent from 11.9 percent.
Spain and Greece have mass unemployment and many other countries are seeing their numbers swell to uncomfortably high levels as governments across the region enact tough austerity measures to get a handle on their debts.
The eurozone, which is made up of a little more than 330 million people, is one of the world's major economic pillars and the turmoil surrounding it has been one of the main reasons why the global recovery has been muted.