Unemployment in the 17-country eurozone area stood at 12% last month, the highest rate since the single currency was introduced in 1999.

When non-euro countries are included, the overall unemployment rate in the European Union stands at 10.9%.

The monthly statistics, from the EU's statistics agency Eurostat, show the number of people unemployed in the eurozone rose by 33,000 last month, leaving 19.07m people without a job.

The unemployment rate in Ireland stands at 14.2%, down from the 15.1% recorded in February last year, but stuck at the same level since December.

The highest unemployment rates were recorded in Spain and Greece at 26%.

The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.8%) and Germany (5.4%).