Annual inflation dips below recommended low as unemployment rates soar to 7.6%

European inflation has hit a record low and unemployment has climbed in the continent, according to data from Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

The annual inflation in the European Union was 1.7% in January, down from 2.2% in December, and the lowest recorded inflation rate for nearly a decade.

The European Central Bank recommends that inflation should be no lower than 2%.

Countries with the lowest annual rates for January included Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and France. The highest rates were seen in Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.

Annual inflation fell in 24 member states as compared with December. It remained stable in one and rose in two.

Meanwhile, the EU unemployment rate soared to 7.6% in January, compared with 7.5% in December 2008. In January 2008, it was 6.8%.