Eurozone jobless rate steady at 12.1%

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BRUSSELS: The eurozone unemployment rate was steady at a record 12.1 percent in July, but there was another slight fall in the total jobless numbers after an improvement in June, official data showed on Friday.

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The total number of people without work in the 17-nation eurozone fell 15,000 to 19.23 million, after a drop of 35,000 in June, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

In the full 28-member European Union (EU)—including Croatia which joined in July—the unemployment rate was unchanged at 11 percent, with 26.65 million jobless, down 33,000 from June when the total shed 43,000.

Analysts had been hoping that the unemployment report would begin to reflect a gradual recovery, which saw the euro-zone post 0.3-percent growth in the second quarter to finally snap an 18-month recession which destroyed millions of jobs.

Compared with July 2012, however, the jobless total in both the eurozone and EU increased by around one million, highlighting the damage done by the economic slump and debt crisis.

Among those with the lowest unemployment levels, Austria had 4.8 percent in July, followed by Germany, Europe’s powerhouse economy, on 5.3 percent.

The highest rates were in twice-bailed out Greece at 27.6 percent—according to the latest available figures for May—and Spain, on 26.3 percent.

Youth unemployment, the 16 to 25 age bracket, continued very high at 24 percent in the eurozone and 23.4 percent in the EU, after 23.9 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively, in June.

Compared with June, Eurostat figures showed thetotal 16-25 jobless numbers were down 16,000 in the eurozone and dropped 38,000 in the EU. Compared with a year earlier, there were falls of 16,000 and 53,000.

Greece was the again the worst affected, with a youthjobless rate of 62.9 percent, while Spain was at 56.1 percent in July.

AFP

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