RTTNews - Eurozone's jobless rate increased further in May, to reach the highest level in ten years, a report from the Eurostat showed Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate climbed to 9.5% in May from a revised 9.3% in April. Economists expected the rate to come in at 9.4%. This is the highest rate since May 1999. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 7.4%.

During the month, there were 15.01 million unemployed persons, representing an increase of 273,000 persons from April and a rise of 3.4 million from the previous year.

The jobless rate for males increased to 9.3% in May from 6.7% last year, while the rate grew to 9.7% from 8.2% for females. The youth unemployment rate was 19.6% in May.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development pointed out in a report in June that there were no clear signs of a recovery in the euro area. As increasing unemployment impair consumer spending, the eventual recovery is likely to be slow, the think-tank said.

Adding to the weakness in the economy, the inflation turned negative for the first time on record in June. A preliminary report released by the Eurostat Tuesday showed that the consumer price index dropped 0.1% year-on-year in June after remaining flat in May, heightening concerns of deflation. The inflation hit a record high of 4% in June and July last year.

Earlier last month, the European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said Eurozone's annual inflation rates are projected to decline further and temporarily remain negative over the coming months, before returning to positive territory by the end of this year. At the same time, the ECB is targeting to keep the inflation below, but close to 2% in the medium term.

In their last meeting the ECB held the interest rate at a record low of 1%. The central bank is due to meet again today for its monetary policy decision at 7.45 am ET. Most economists do not expect the ECB to make any changes to the interest rates.

Meanwhile, positive news coming in indicate the worst of the recession in the euro area could be over. A survey released by the European Commission Monday showed that the economic sentiment index for the Eurozone, rose for the third consecutive month in May to 73.3 from an upwardly revised 70.2 in April.

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