The unemployment rate in the euro zone remained at a record high of 11.3% percent in July.

Official figures from Eurostat, showed that 88,000 more people were without a job in July, a total of 18.002 million.

The 11.3% unemployment rate, which is 1.2% higher than a year earlier, is the highest level since the euro was formed in 1999. Ireland's unemployment rate is 14.9%, 5th highest in the EU.

The Eurostat figures show average unemployment across the 27 EU states stood at 10.4% in July, up from 9.6% in July 2011.

In Spain, the jobless figure rose by another 0.2% to reach 25.1%, the highest in the euro zone.

For Greece, the latest data available was for May, which saw a 0.5% increase to 23.1%. A year earlier, it was 16.8%.

Youth unemployment was even worse. In Spain it stood at 52.9% for people under 25 and at 53.8% in Greece.

In comparison with Europe's figures, Eurostat said unemployment in the corresponding month stood at 8.3% in the United States and 4.3% in Japan.

At the other end of the scale in the euro zone, Germany, the continent's biggest economy, had a rate of 5.5%. Its neighbour Austria had the lowest of all with 4.5%.

Estimated inflation rises in August

Eurostat estimates that the annual rate of inflation in the euro area is at 2.6% in August.That's an increase from 2.4% in July.

This is a provisional estimate for August with the confirmed figures due to be issued on the 14th September.