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News Summary: Euro area unemployment at 12 percent

The Associated Press

BLEAK MILESTONE: Official figures Tuesday showed that unemployment across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro has struck 12 percent for the first time since the currency was launched in 1999.

GRIM NUMBERS: Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said the rate in February was unchanged at the record high after January's figure was revised up to 12 percent from 11.9 percent.

GLOBAL DRAG: The eurozone, which is made up of a little more than 330 million people, is one of the world's major economic pillars. It has been one of the main reasons why the global recovery has been muted.