World economy slides deeper into slump
By Andre Damon
October 02, 2012
A string of negative reports coinciding with the start of the fourth quarter has revealed a significant deterioration in the global economy, with world trade slowing, manufacturing contracting, and the number of unemployed workers in the euro zone hitting a record high.
Despite these disastrous figures, stock prices in Europe and the United States rose on Monday, fueled by new central bank injections of cash into the global financial system, an intensification of austerity measures against the working class and expectations of new bank bailouts.
Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency, reported Monday that the unemployment rate in the 17-member euro zone remained at record highs in August, while the ranks of the unemployed grew by 34,000, bringing the total of jobless workers to a new high of 18.2 million. The jobless rate was 11.4 percent, the same as in July. A year ago, the regionís jobless rate was 10.2 percent.
In the 27-nation European Union as a whole, 25.5 million people were out of a job in August. The EU unemployment rate was 10.5 percent.
The unemployment rates of Spain, Greece and Portugal, the countries hardest hit by the euro crisis, all rose. Spainís unemployment rate reached 25.1 percent, that of Greece hit 24.4 percent, and Portugalís rose to 15.9 percent.
The unemployment rate for Italy stayed at 10.7 percent and Franceís remained at 10.6 percent. Last week, the French government said the number of unemployed had hit a new record of 3 million.
Youth unemployment in the euro zone likewise worsened, hitting 22.8 percent in August, up more than 2 percentage points from a year ago, according to the Eurostat report. In Spain, 52.9 percent of people under 25 were without work.
The jobs crisis in Europe is likely to get even worse. Markit Economics reported Monday that its euro zone purchasing managersí index (PMI), a key measure of manufacturing output, was 46.1 in August. As a reading below 50 indicates contraction, the August report marked the fourteenth consecutive month of decline in the manufacturing sector.CONTINUE: [link to www.globalresearch.ca]