LONDON - The unemployment rate across the 17 European countries that use the euro hit a record 12.2 percent in April, and the number of unemployed is on track to reach 20 million by year's end.
The worsening jobs crisis points to the recession that has gripped the euro alliance. Many countries are struggling to stimulate growth while grappling with a debt crisis that's led governments to slash spending and raise taxes.
Unemployment in the eurozone rose in April from the previous record of 12.1 percent set in March, Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, said Friday. In 2008, before the worst of the financial crisis, the rate was far less - around 7.5 percent.
The number of unemployed rose 95,000 to 19.38 million. The currency bloc's population is about 330 million.
Private companies in the eurozone haven't managed to fill the vacuum created by drastically reduced government spending. In the United States, by contrast, governments have imposed far milder spending cuts and tax increases.
Unemployment, at 7.5 percent, is far lower. And consumers and private companies have kept spending, steadily if modestly.
The unemployment rate for the overall eurozone masks sharp disparities among individual countries. Unemployment in Greece and Spain top 25 percent. In Germany, the rate is a low 5.4 percent.