Almost one in four young Europeans was out of work in October as unemployment in the eurozone hit a new record high, with more than 170,000 jobs lost as the economy slumped into recession, official data showed Friday.
With the debt crisis further undermining sagging economies, the Eurostat data agency showed the jobless rate in the 17-nation eurozone climbing to a fresh high of 11.7 percent in October -- or more than 18 million people out of work.
It was the 14th consecutive monthly record since September 2011 when unemployment hit 10.3 percent.
But the future looks even bleaker for those in search of work.
European Union forecasts earlier this month saw unemployment set to peak at almost 12 percent next year due to weak domestic demand as governments continue on the path of austerity.
Friday's year-on-year figures from Eurostat painted a particularly dark picture for under 25s, with nearly one in four jobless both in the eurozone and the 27-nation EU -- against one in five a year earlier.
Compared with October 2011, an extra 279,000 young people were out of work in the EU and 350,000 in the eurozone in October this year.
The youth unemployment rate rose to 23.9 percent in the eurozone and to 23.4 percent in the EU compared with 21.2 percent and 21.9 percent a year earlier, Eurostat said.
But in Greece, 57 percent of under 25s were jobless in August, the latest available figures, and in Spain 55.9 percent in October.
"Unemployment among young people has always been higher than general joblessness but the economic crisis has widened the gap further," said Katinka Barysch of the Centre for European Reform think-tank.
To get a full picture of the scale of the problem, a better indicator was to count the total number of youngsters not in employment, education or training.
Last year, Europe had 7.5 million in that bracket aged between 15 and 24.
But "there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the job crisis. And many measures will not bite until growth returns," Barysch said.
Overall, the eurozone's jobless rate of 11.7 percent in October was up from 11.6 percent in September, with the numbers out of work rising to 18.7 million from 18.49 million, Eurostat said.
The highest rate was recorded again in Spain, where 26.2 percent of adults are out of work. Austria again posted the lowest rate of 4.3 percent and benchmark Germany and the Netherlands were at 5.4 and 5.5 percent respectively.
Countries such as Portugal registered a 12-month rise from 13.7 percent to 16.3 percent. In Spain joblessness rose from 22.7 percent to 26.2 percent.
In comparison, unemployment was at 7.9 percent in the United States in September and at 4.2 percent in Japan.
Across the 27-state European Union single market of half a billion consumers, 25.92 million men and women were out of work.