| GEO Business|
| EU unemployment at 10-year high|
| Updated at: 1322 PST, Saturday, August 01, 2009|
NEW YORK: Euro zone unemployment crept up to its highest level in 10 years in May, data showed today, casting a shadow on prospects for any quick recovery from the worst economic recession since the second World War.
The unemployment rate in the 16-nation euro zone rose to 9.5 per cent from April's 9.3 per cent as 273,000 people lost their jobs in the month, bringing the number of those out of work to 15.013 million, European Union statistics office Eurostat said.
"For the euro area this is the highest rate since May 1999," Eurostat said of a figure higher than the 9.4 per cent expected by economists polled by Reuters and which signals a likely fragility in consumer demand that is key for recovery.
Eurostat calculated that 3.4 million people in the currency zone lost their job in the year from May 2008, with 5.1 million joining jobless queues across the EU.
The data came as the European Central Bank was meeting in Luxembourg, with economists expecting it to leave its main interest rate on hold at 1.0 percent, a record low.