In November, the euro area unemployment rate extended its upward trend to reach ever new highs. The unemployment rate rose from 11.7% to 11.8% in November, in line with expectations. According to Eurostat estimates, the number of people unemployed increased by 113 000 in the euro area, compared with the previous month. The total number of people unemployed is now at 18.820 million in the currency union. The monthly increase in number of people unemployed is however the slowest since July, which is slightly encouraging and suggests that number new monthly layoffs is starting to ease. Looking at the national data, the Spanish unemployment rate increased the most (to 26.6% from 26.2%), but more recent December data signaled a decline in the number of people unemployed. A positive surprise came from Italy, where the unemployment rate stabilized unexpectedly (at 11.1%) and the Irish unemployment rate fell from 14.7% to 14.6%. Although there is little positive news in the unemployment data, with the euro zone unemployment rate reaching ever new highs, the slowdown in the monthly layoffs is a first encouraging sign if confirmed in the coming months, and could indicate that the unemployment rate might reach its peak in the course of the year.