Unemployment in the 27-member European Union has now "reached a historically high level" at 9.8 percent, the European Commission announced here on Tuesday.
Unemployment has affected most groups, but especially hard hit are the young, the low-skilled and migrants.
Poverty is also on the rise in many EU countries. Young adults, children and single parents are particularly at risk, said the EU's executive body in a statement.
The EU economy grew modestly in the third quarter of 2011, although not enough to stabilise employment. The growth rate was 0.3 pct quarter-on-quarter, while the annual growth rate declined from 1.7 pct to 1.4 pct.
Growth forecasts for the EU were downgraded, also because the international environment became weaker.