The jobless rate in the 17 euro nations rose in January to 10.7 percent from 10.6 percent in December reaching the highest level since the introduction of the euro in 1999, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, reported from Luxembourg. Flagging economies like Italy and Greece were responsible for much of the increase.
For all 27 European Union countries, the jobless rate ticked up to 10.1 percent in January from 10.0 percent in December, Eurostat said, with a total of 24.3 million men and women out of work.
Eurostat also reported that euro zone inflation edged up in February to 2.7 percent, from 2.6 percent in January. The European Central Bank tries to hold increases in the general level of prices to just under 2 percent; it has not met that target for 15 consecutive months.
The data were released as European finance officials were meeting in Brussels to discuss measures aimed at putting the region's economy back on firm footing.