Jobless numbers shot up to a record 18.2 million in the eurozone in August, official data showed Monday after a sharp revision to earlier figures highlighted the damage caused by the debt crisis.
The grim 18,196,000 headline jobless figure for August released by Eurostat was the highest since records began in 1995 and equated to a massive jump of 2,144,000 in the last 12 months.
In a statement, the European Union agency said the August unemployment rate of 11.4 per cent was "stable" compared to July, with just a 34,000 increase.
However, the July figures had been revised up to add 160,000 to the jobless count for the month, giving the same 11.4 per cent unemployment rate, a Eurostat spokesman confirmed.
The eurozone is faring far worse than its main international economic rivals. Japan's unemployment rate was 4.1 per cent in August according to Eurostat, which uses complicated data modelling to draw comparisons, while the United States was at 8.1 per cent.
The eurozone also suffered more relative to the 27-state EU single market, which includes Britain and Poland.
"Compared with August 2011, unemployment rose by 2.170 million in the EU 27 and by 2.144 million in the euro area," Eurostat said
The European Commission had warned recently that eurozone jobless levels were becoming "critical" and would pose a "serious threat to social cohesion" without concerted action.
Since then, Spain, Portugal and Greece have each seen mounting street protests against government austerity programmes, with the strains stoking separatist sentiment in several countries.
Spain retained the highest unemployment rate in August, of 25.1 per cent for all adults, and 52.9 per cent for under-25s.
Greece had the highest youth unemployment rate -- 55.4 per cent -- and was only narrowly behind Spain overall with 24.4 per cent of adults out of work.
Germany's rate was 5.5 per cent, with neighbouring Austria recording the lowest at 4.5 per cent.