EU unemployment rates hold steady

March 1, 2010 at 12:44 PM

BRUSSELS, March 1 (UPI) -- Unemployment in the 27-member European Union held steady in January, the region's statistical office said Monday.

The rate of 9.5 percent in January, was unchanged from December, Eurostat said.

In the eurozone, which is made up of the 16 countries that share the euro as currency, unemployment held steady at 9.9 percent in January, the European Union's statistical office said.

Although the unemployment rates were unchanged, the number of people unemployed in both the European Union and the eurozone rose, Eurostat said.

About 22.9 million workers were unemployed in the European Union, an increase of 136,000 from December. In the eurozone, 15.7 million were unemployed, up 38,000 from the previous month.

From a year ago, 3.8 million additional workers are unemployed in the larger EU and 2.2 million more are unemployed in the eurozone, Eurostat said.

The Netherlands maintained its spot as the EU nation with the lowest unemployment rate, although that rose to from 4 percent to 4.2 percent in January. The highest unemployment rate in Europe is in Latvia, where unemployment is at 22.9 percent.

In Europe's largest economy, Germany, unemployment is at 7.5 percent.

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