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Euro-zone Unemployment Rate hits Record 11.6% * *PIC*

Euro-zone unemployment rate hits record 11.6% (by William L. Watts)

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- The unemployment rate in the 17-nation euro zone rose to 11.6% in September, the European Union statistics agency Eurostat reported Wednesday, topping the previous record of 11.5% seen in August. The total number of unemployed rose by 146,000 to 18.49 million. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a rate of 11.5%. Southern Europe continues to suffer the worst, with the unemployment rates in Spain and Greece both topping 25%. Youth unemployment across the euro zone also rose, hitting 23.3% in September from 23%. Separately, Eurostat said its preliminary annual inflation reading for the euro zone edged back to 2.5% in September from 2.6% in August.