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The eurozone unemployment rate hit a fresh record of 12.2 percent in April, with 19.2 million people on the dole as recession continued to sap the economy.

The Eurostat data agency said that in the 12 months to April a total 1.6 million people lost their jobs in the 17-nation eurozone, and an extra 95,000 people joined unemployment queues in the month alone from March to April this year.

As the jobless rate in the eurozone climbed for the 24th consecutive month, there was some respite in the full 27-nation European Union where unemployment remained stable in April at 11.0 percent.

In total, 26.6 million people were out of work in the full EU in April and 19.3 million in the eurozone.


The data shows a big year-on-year rise, with unemployment at 11.2 percent in the eurozone in the same month in 2012 and 10.3 percent in the European Union.

Greece remained the hardest hit nation in April, with joblessness relentlessly climbing to hit 27 percent in February, the latest available figures, against 21.9 percent a year earlier.

Spain, the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy and the EU's fifth, was not far behind, with 26.8 percent out of work against 26.7 percent the previous month and 24.4 percent a year earlier.