The 11.3 percent unemployment rate, which is up 1.2 points from a year earlier, is the highest level since the euro was introduced in 1999.
Joblessness increased in Spain and Greece, both countries at the center of the European sovereign debt crisis that has created doubt about the future of the single euro currency.
In Spain, the jobless figure rose by another 0.2 points to reach 25.1 percent, the highest in the euro zone. For Greece, the latest data available was for May, when unemployment reached 23.1 percent, an increase of 0.5 percent. A year earlier, the jobless rate in Greece was 16.8 percent.
For people younger than 25, the unemployment rate was 52.9 percent in Spain and 53.8 percent in Greece.
“Partners at all levels need to do all they can to avoid a lost generation, which will be an economic and social disaster,” E.U. Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said. He cautioned, however, that there was no “quick fix” to the problem.
Europe’s economy has been hit by the combination of government savings measures — cuts to public-sector payrolls and benefits and increases in taxes — and the uncertainty that has caused huge volatility in financial markets. That uncertainty is keeping companies from hiring and investing and scaring households away from big purchases.
European leaders are preparing measures to boost confidence in government finances, hoping that greater stability will allow the economy to recover. But that task is proving long and arduous.
“We must not get used to these excruciatingly high levels of unemployment,” said Hannes Swoboda, the president of the Socialist group at the European Parliament. “We have been witnessing constant, creeping increases in unemployment — and especially youth unemployment — for years now. Enough is enough.”
The bottom of the euro zone’s economic downturn has yet to be reached, said Ben May, European economist for Capital Economics.
In comparison with Europe’s figures, Eurostat said unemployment in the corresponding month stood at 8.3 percent in the United States and 4.3 percent 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 percent. Neighboring Austria had the zone’s lowest rate, 4.5 percent.
— Associated Press