Regular readers are already well aware that we are not optimistic about Europe’s economic future, and this CNN Money report throws more fuel on the fire. Newly-released statistics show that the combined Eurozone jobless rate reached 11.8 in November, a record high:
Eurostat data published Tuesday showed unemployment in the 17-nation eurozone hit a record high of 11.8% in November, leaving 18.8 million people without work – two million more than a year ago.
Unsurprisingly, Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal had the worst numbers in the whole Eurozone, with Spain’s rate hitting a depressing 27 percent. Prior to the release of these figures, many hoped that rallying financial markets and other promising metrics pointed to a Eurozone on its way to recovery. But new data suggests that unemployment could continue to climb even higher. A sentiment survey of Euro business and consumers was released along with the unemployment figures, and the future could be even more grim:
But the sentiment survey also suggested Europe’s jobless blight will continue well into 2013. Industrial managers expect hiring to improve, but the retail, services and construction sectors could experience further declines in hiring.
Policy failure hardly begins to describe the bungling that brought Europe to this pass, and it is far from encouraging that so far the continent’s policy elites have been unable to agree on a recovery plan. Europe does not seem, thankfully, to be falling victim much to the radicalism and hate of past generations; Fascists and Communists are not fighting in the streets, or at least not in very many of them. But Europe’s policy elite has blighted the hopes of a generation of young people, many of them immigrants or the children of immigrants whose ties to their adopted countries were already loose. We can only hope for the best; a strong and prosperous Europe is in America’s interest, and a dynamic and outward looking Europe would be a powerful force for good in the decades ahead.