Unemployment rates in the Euro zone increased to 8% in December, and the total number of unemployed people reached 12.472 million in the Euro zone and 17.911 million in all the 27 EU member states, an Eurostat study reveals on Friday.

Unemployment rates in December in the Euro zone reached 8% as compared to 7.9% in November and 7.2% in December 2007. Unemployment rates in all EU member state countries reached 7.4% in December 2008 as compared to 7.3% in November 2008 and 6.8% in December 2007.

Eurostat estimates that 17.911 million EU citizens were unemployed in December 2008 of which 12.472 million only in the Euro zone. The countries with highest unemployment rates are in Spain and Lithuania with 14.4% and 10.4% respectively and the least in Austria with 3.9% and Netherlands with 2.7%. Romania's unemployment rate stood at 5.8% in December 2008.