Eurozone unemployment falls to 10-year low

14 Jan 19

Unemployment in the eurozone has fallen to its lowest rate in more than a decade, figures from the statistical office of the European Union found.

The unemployment rate for the group of 19 countries fell to 7.9% in November, reaching its lowest level since October 2008 when average unemployment rate was 7.6%.

This was a drop of 0.1 percentage points from 8% in October 2018. Unemployment hit 12.1% in the eurozone after the financial crisis.

The number of people out of work fell in both Spain and Italy, the eurozone countries with the highest unemployment rates.

In Spain the number dropped from 14.8% to 14.7% while the Italian rate fell from 10.6% to 10.5%.

This was underpinned by big falls in the youth unemployment rate of both countries, although they still remain high, Eurostat said.

The percentage of unemployed under 25s in Spain dropped from 34.6 to 34.1% and in Italy from 32.2% to 31.6%.

Youth unemployment fell across the eurozone as a whole, dropping from 17.1% in October to 16.9% in November.

German and French unemployment rates did not show any change. They remained static at 3.3% and 8.9% respectively.

The figures defied the generally poor outlook and slow GDP growth of the bloc in recent months. GDP in the euro area grew by just 0.2% in the third quarter of 2018, the Eurostat figures suggested.

In the whole of the European Union, unemployment was 6.7% in November 2018 – the lowest level since records began – down from 7.5% the year before, Eurostat said, echoing an announcement made on the figures at the end of the year.

The economy of the eurozone grew by 2.5% over the year to September 2018, the highest rate of growth since 2001, the Eurostat figures suggested at the end of last year.

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