(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

LONDON Euro-area unemployment held at a record high in September, worse than economists had estimated.

The jobless rate stood unchanged at 12.2 percent, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said Thursday, revising the August figure from 12 percent previously. Economists forecast a rate of 12 percent, based on the median of 36 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Record unemployment is the legacy of the recession and the debt crisis in the 17-nation bloc, where the economy is recovering only gradually, according to the European Central Bank. Economists in a Bloomberg survey this month forecast that the jobless rate will be slow to decline and predict an average of 12.1 percent next year and 12 percent in 2015.

In Spain, unemployment held at 26.6 percent in September, while Italy's joblessness climbed to 12.5 percent, the report showed. Germany's jobless rate fell to 5.2 percent.

A report this week showed economic confidence in the euro- area rose more than economists forecast in October. An index of executive and consumer sentiment increased for a sixth month to 97.8 from 96.9. That was the highest in more than two years and exceeded the median estimate of 97.2 in a Bloomberg survey of 31 economists.

The nascent signs of recovery aren't yet likely to translate into a surge in payrolls. Volkswagen reported Wednesday that third-quarter revenue fell 3.8 percent and Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch said the company will focus on "disciplined" cost management because the "economic environment is not expected to improve in the short term."

_ With assistance from Kristian Siedenburg in Vienna and Catherine Bosley in Zurich.