By Boris Schlossberg
Eurozone unemployment for January increased by 256,000 claims taking the overall rate to 8.2% from 8.1% the month prior as the global recession continues to impact the 16 member economic union. While job losses in the region are still only half as large on a monthly basis as those in the US, the EZ has already lost 1.5 million jobs over the past four months and the trend is likely to accelerate as 2009 progresses.
Labor conditions in Europe have proven to be remarkably resilient in the face of the global credit crunch that swept financial markets last year, allowing the ECB to toe a much tougher line regarding rates than the rest of the G7 members. While rates in US, Japan and (given the expected cut in UK) rest at within 50 basis points of zero, the rates in Europe have remained at 2% with ECB likely to lower them only another 50bp at the upcoming meeting in March.
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