June 13, 2014 / 9:21 AM / 3 years ago

Euro zone employment rises, trade surplus grows

* Euro zone employment rises in Q1 for 2nd quarter in a row
    * Annual employment up first time since Q3/2011
    * April trade surplus grows y/y as imports slow

    By Martin Santa
    BRUSSELS, June 13 (Reuters) - Euro zone employment rose for
the second consecutive quarter in the first three months of the
year in a sign the recovery was finally helping the labour
market and a widening trade surplus signalled a further positive
contribution to growth in April.
    The number of persons employed in the 18 countries sharing
the euro rose by 0.1 percent on the quarter in the three months
to March and was up by 0.2 percent on the year, the first annual
rise since third quarter of 2011, the European Union's
statistics office said.
    In Germany, the euro zone growth engine, employment rose 0.3
percent on the quarter and 0.8 percent on the year. In Portugal,
which exited an international bailout in May, employment fell
0.3 percent on the quarter, but jumped 1.8 percent year-on-year.
    Employment in Greece rose on the quarter and slowed its
annual fall to 0.5 percent from 2.6 percent in the last quarter
of 2013, signalling that also the euro zone's troubled periphery
was experiencing a gradual recovery in labour markets.
    But despite four consecutive quarters of economic growth
still 18.7 million people were without jobs in April and the
jobless rate remains close to record highs seen last year.
    Separately, data showed that net trade made a positive
contribution to growth in April as the trade surplus increased
to 15.7 billion euros ($21.38 billion), from 14.0 billion in the
same period of 2013.
    The higher surplus was mainly because imports, down 3
percent year-on-year, slowed more than exports, which fell only
1 percent in April on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.
    Economists polled by Reuters had expected the trade surplus
to narrow to 13.9 billion euros in April from the originally
reported 17.1 billion surplus in March.
    EU exports to Russia, with which relations are tense because
of Russian annexation of Crimea, fell 12 percent on the year on
a non-seasonally adjusted basis in the first three months of the
year, Eurostat said.
    Imports from Russia, which is the EU's fourth biggest trade
partner, fell 9 percent on the year in the first quarter. 
For April trade TABLE pls see:        ... 
For Q1/14 employment TABLE pls see:    ... 
   ($1 = 0.7345 Euros)

 (Reporting by Martin Santa)

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