Eurozone Unemployment Unchanged at Record High

 
on April 03 2013 9:04 AM

The euro fell toward $1.27 on Wednesday morning after poor data showing no signs of recovery worried investors and confirmed that the region was likely to remain in a recession for a long time. The common currency traded at 1.2807 at 8:25 GMT.

Eurozone manufacturing and jobless data released on Tuesday reflected the bloc's struggle to resolve compounding financial and social problems.

The Wall Street Journal reported that eurozone's manufacturing sector shrank in March at its fastest pace in three months, with the sharpest declines being in France, Italy and Spain. Ireland also posted its first manufacturing decline in 13 months.

The manufacturing data compounded fear over the even more concerning unemployment numbers for February, which remained at an all time high. Unemployment for the bloc as a whole remained unchanged at 12 percent, a record high.

In most Southern European countries, jobless numbers continued to rise as they struggle to meet strict EU austerity measures.

In Cyprus, unemployment jumped from 13.7 to 14 percent, and Spanish joblessness ticked up to 26.3 percent from 26.2 percent. These figures stood in stark contrast to Germany's rate, which remained unchanged at 5.4 percent.

The dismal data comes just days before the European Central Bank will hold its monthly policy meeting, but most expect the region's finance ministers to leave the 0.75 interest rate unchanged.

However, if eurozone economic data continues to trend downward, many are expecting to see a rate cut in the second half of 2013. The press conference following the meeting will be eyed closely for clues about the ministers' plans for the next three quarters.

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