Unemployment in the Eurozone rose to a new high in September, with nearly 18 1/2 Europeans out of work, a rate of 11.6%. The austerity measures meant to stop a debt crisis caused an economic crisis, in other words.
The jobless rate in the 17-nation currency union ticked up to 11.6 percent from the 11.5 percent in August, as 146,000 more people were classified as unemployed, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, reported from Luxembourg. The August figure, itself already a record level, was revised upward from the 11.4 percent previously reported.
Spain, where the economy has been shellacked by a property sector collapse and government austerity measures, continues to have the highest jobless rate, at 25.8 percent. Greece, where the European sovereign debt crisis began, was next, at 25.1 percent in July, the most recent month for which data were available.
Third quarter GDP results will show another quarter of contraction in the Eurozone, as the currency region continues in a recession. Business credit is down as well. Yet the prevailing opinion among elites is that the Eurozone crisis has been “solved.” After all, debt yields are relatively stable. The market isn’t gunning for any particular country. Everything’s fine, right? Well, no. The currency region is in the grips of an economic crisis, which they have no plan from which to extricate themselves. In fact the plan amounts to “more austerity.” That’s what we’re seeing in Greece, Spain and Portugal, where rallies today will protest large tax rises and cuts to public sector wages.
You would think this real-time experiment with austerity coming out of a financial crisis would cause those promoting the exact same prescription for the United States to mull it over some more. Instead we get the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and the Fix the Debt campaign. But even in the electoral sphere, we’re seeing elites refuse to come to terms with numerical reality if it gets in the way of their story.