The unemployment rate in the eurozone is soaring, with the rate now at 10.7% for euro-using countries. Spain and Greece have the highest rates.
Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, reports (pdf) that the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7% in January 2012 for countries in the eurozone, up from 10.0% in January of 2011. The percentages represent millions out of work: the report shows 24.3 million people out of work in the EU, with 16.9 million unemployed in the eurozone.
Greece, which has been hit by rounds of austerity measures, had the second highest level of unemployment at 19.9%, with Spain earning the dubious honor of being at the top of the unemployment rates in the EU at 23.3%.
Spaniards have been hitting the streets by the thousands to protest the Spanish government's austerity reforms, which are making it easier for companies to fire workers.
“Workers who’ve got jobs now are worried these reforms will make it easy to lose them, and in current conditions, those who don’t have work are going to find it impossible to get a job,” office worker Manuela Silvela said at a protest against cuts in Spain earlier this month.
21-year old Diego Parejo, a university student protesting education cuts in Spain this week, told AFP:
"When I finish university, I see a very dark future."
The unemployment figures match his sentiment. The unemployment rate for those under 25 in Spain was at 49.9%, with little reason for cheer in the rest of the EU with youth unemployment at 22.4%