Austerity has been pushed hardest by Germany, Europe's biggest economy, as a way to convince markets and international investors that the region has a grip on its problems. However, Germany's economy is beginning to show signs of vulnerability, which analysts say could pressure Chancellor Angela Merkel to moderate her stance.
April unemployment figures from Germany's statistics office showed a monthly rise of 19,000, only the second increase in the past 25 months.
A survey of Europe's manufacturing sector released Wednesday suggests further pain is on the horizon.
The eurozone's monthly purchasing managers index — which tracks sales, employment, stock levels and prices — fell to 45.9 in April from 47.7 the previous month, according to financial information company Markit. Anything below 50 indicates a contraction in activity. Germany's index slumped to 46.2, its lowest level since the summer of 2009.
As Spain's conservative government pushes ahead with more austerity, its recession is expected to deepen, raising doubts that it will be able to meet its deficit-reduction targets.
Greece has the second highest unemployment rate, though its figures date back to January. The country, which has received two massive international bailouts to avoid a messy default on its debt payments, has a jobless rate of 21.7 percent, with 51.2 percent of young people out of work.
Austria had the lowest unemployment rate in the eurozone, at 4 percent. The Netherlands, which saw its government collapse last week over disagreements on austerity measures, was not far behind at 5 percent.
The unemployment rate across the wider 27-country European Union, which includes non-euro members like Britain and Poland, was 10.2 percent, unchanged from February but still higher than the 9.4 percent recorded a year before.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.