A family begs at Stadiou Street in Athens. The number of homeless in Athens… (Milos Bicanski / Getty Images )
WASHINGTON -- The unemployment rate in the 17-nation Eurozone was a record high of 12% in February as Europe continued to struggle with its debt crisis.
The February rate was the same as January, which was revised up slightly from an initial figure of 11.9%, the region's statistical office, Eurostat, said Tuesday.
The 12% rate was the highest since the Eurozone began tracking the data in 2000 after creation of the region's single currency.
The unemployment rate has been consistently hitting new records since late 2011 as the European economy has been dragged into recession by major debt problems in countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain.
Last month, the tiny island nation of Cyprus flared into another trouble spot after a bailout plan caused an unexpected run on banks.
Europe's recession worsened in the fourth quarter of 2012, as the economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.6%. It was the biggest contraction since the 2008 financial crisis.
Spain had the highest unemployment rate in February, at 26.3%, up slightly from January. Portugal was next at 17.5%, followed by 14.6% in Slovakia and 14% in Cyprus.
The lowest rates were Austria at 4.8%, Germany at 5.4%, and Luxembourg at 5.5%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.7% in February.
Eurozone unemployment hits record high
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