The euro zone big picture is a bit dimmer in terms of unemployment than it was a month ago. According to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics facility, in a report out Wednesday, about 146,000 additional workers lost their jobs in September.
An estimated 18.5 million people are without jobs, the highest number of unemployed on record for the 17-nation euro zone, according to a Wall Street Journal report published Wednesday.
Governments bloated by bad debt, mostly in the southern regions of the euro zone, are struggling from decompression as they cut spending that led to fiscal crises. The cutbacks have led to sudden increases in poverty rates, joblessness and violent riots in euro zone countries dealing with financial chaos.
The rising jobless rate currently represents 11.6% of the workforce, up from 11.5% in August and the highest on record since euro zone unemployment record-keeping began in 1995.
Severe drops in enterprise have squeezed spending by governments, consumers and businesses, resulting in top-heavy governments laden with debt as tax revenues continue to drop and economies contract.
Unemployment in Greece and Spain is over 25 percent for September, and about half of those under 25 can’t find jobs.
Meanwhile, strikes and demonstrations that have become part of the culture in Greece and Spain have crippled transportation and services in large cities. Angry voters are blocking government efforts to stabilize national budgets while falling tax revenues and climbing welfare payouts push debt ceilings ever higher for the foreseeable future.
To the good, Eurostat said Wednesday the annual rate of consumer price inflation in the euro zone was 2.5% in October, according to a preliminary estimate, down from 2.6% in September. The slowdown reflected a fall in energy-price inflation following a surge in fuel costs over the summer.