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The Boston Globe

Business

Eurozone unemployment heading for 20 million

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 situation points to the recession that has gripped the euro alliance. Many countries are struggling to stimulate growth while grappling with a debt crisis that has led governments to slash spending and raise taxes.

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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 around 7.5 percent. The number of unemployed rose to 19.4 million, in a population of about 330 million.

The overall unemployment rate masks sharp disparities among individual countries. Jobless figures in Greece and Spain top 25 percent. In Germany, the rate is 5.4 percent.

The differences are particularly stark for younger workers. More than half of people ages 16 to 25 in Greece and Spain are unemployed.

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