Here’s the latest impressively awful bit of data to emerge from the economic wasteland at the heart of the world’s economic slag-heap, Europe: Employment in the eurozone has dropped to a seven-year low.
Eurostat, the EU’s official statistics agency, said on Thursday that employment in the 17 countries that use the euro fell 0.3% in the fourth quarter from the third, to 145.7 million in seasonally adjusted terms.
That is the lowest number since the first quarter of 2006. In the previous quarter, employment fell 0.1%.
Europe’s leaders, who are beginning to bear a startling resemblance to U.S. leaders in terms of indecision and—when that subsides—bad decision-making, are meeting now to fight over whether austerity’s failure simply requires more austerity, or whether something should be done about all of those people out of work before they take up arms. All of which is making the Swiss very nervous, indeed.
The Swiss central bank pledged to keep up its defense of the franc cap after almost doubling its currency holdings to shield the country from the fallout caused by the euro zone’s crisis….
Jordan said in a newspaper interview on Feb. 27 that an exit from the cap was still far off given that the euro-zone crisis could flare up again. He today confirmed that assessment.
“Downside risks to the Swiss economy remain considerable,” Jordan said in Aarau. “There is a risk that tensions in the euro area will increase again.”
All of which has the dollar feeling positive frothy, rising to better than two-year high this week as our anemic recovery compares rather favorably to no recovery at all. This, of course, carries risks. Read more »