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The economic slowdown in Europe has kept unemployment in the eurozone at a record high.
In December, 18.7 million people in the 17 members of the monetary union had no jobs, the Eurostat statistics agency announced Friday in Luxembourg. The December unemployment rate in the eurozone again reached 11.7 percent, just as it had in November - its highest in history.
At the end of 2012, almost 26 million people across the European Union were out of a job, said the EU statisticians. The unemployment rate has stagnated for the 27 EU countries at around 10.7 percent.
Young people in southern Europe were particularly hard hit by the consequences of the weak economy. In December, 5.7 million young people in the EU were unable to find work.
In the crisis states of Spain and Greece, more than half of young people have no job.
According to Eurostat, Spain and Greece still have the highest overall unemployment rates. In Spain the overall rate was 26.1 percent in December. In Greece, according to the latest available figures from October, unemployment stood at 26.8 percent.
On the other side of the spectrum, in December Austria had just 4.3 percent unemployment and Germany and Luxembourg each had 5.3 percent.