(Reuters) – Unemployment has reached a new high in the euro zone and inflation remains well below the European Central Bank’s target, stepping up pressure on EU leaders and the ECB for action to revive the bloc’s sickly economy.

Joblessness in the 17-nation currency area rose to 12.2 percent in April, EU statistics office Eurostat said on Friday, marking a new record since the data series began in 1995.

With the euro zone in its longest recession since its creation in 1999, consumer price inflation was far below the ECB’s target of just below 2 percent, coming in at 1.4 percent in May, slightly above April’s 1.2 percent rate.

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