This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
While there are many signs that the American economy is picking up steam, in much of the European Union, the opposite is true. Austerity programs aimed at reducing national debts have been blamed for crushing growth and sending unemployment in the eurozone nations to a record high of 12 percent.
And our last word in business today is living on a prayer.
The rock band Bon Jovi recognizes that song is the reality for many cash-strapped fans in Spain, which is deep in recession. So the New Jersey rockers waived their performance fee for an upcoming concert in Madrid. The newspaper El Mundo reports tickets for the show now cost half as much as most of the band's other European shows. And it seems their fans in Madrid are grateful. The concert is completely sold out.
We are also following a subtler story of economic devastation, even with all the news about unemployment in Europe, this next number is hard to absorb. In Italy, among younger people, the jobless rate us close to 40 percent. The government is focused on the middle-aged and the elderly leaving little room it seems for their kids
Europe is debating whether austerity - with its deep budget cuts and tax hikes - is the right cure for the continent's debt crisis. But in Portugal, one of the first countries bailed out by the European Union, the austerity drive goes on. The government there is struggling to repay its loans, and has announced more steep job and benefit cuts, as the country struggles to avoid what was Greece's fate - a second bailout.