The jobless rates in Spain and Ireland have increased about 6 percentage points since the peak of those countries’ economic booms. Euro-area unemployment has risen to 8.2 percent, the highest since late 2006.
From a year earlier, euro-region payrolls stagnated in the fourth quarter, following growth of 0.6 percent in the previous three-month period, according to today’s report. That was the weakest reading since the series started in 1996. For all of 2008, employment rose 0.8 percent, the data showed, compared with a 1.8 percent increase in 2007.
The statistics office estimates that the total number of people employed in the euro area was 145.4 million in the fourth quarter. The total in the 27-nation EU was 225.3 million.