By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, Dec 1 The unemployment rate in the
euro zone fell to a seven-year low in October, according to data
published on Thursday, and has dropped below 10 percent for the
first time since 2011.
The rate of unemployment, a lagging indicator in the
economic cycle, fell to 9.8 percent in October from a revised
9.9 percent in September, the European Union's statistics agency
Eurostat reported. Eurostat initially estimated the September
rate at 10.0 percent.
Unemployment has gradually declined since a peak of 12.1
percent in early 2013. However, the rate is still above levels
seen before the global financial crisis began in 2008. In March
of that year it had touched a low of 7.2 percent.
Of the 17 euro zone nations to report data for October, the
rate fell in 14, was stable in Cyprus and Lithuania and rose
slightly in Malta. There were no figures for Estonia and Greece.
Some 15.9 million people in the 19-country euro zone were
looking for a job, Eurostat said, 178,000 fewer than in
September and down 1.12 million from a year earlier.
For the European Union as a whole, the unemployment rate was
8.3 percent, down a tenth of a percentage point from September
and the lowest rate since February 2009.
Compared with a year ago, unemployment fell in 24 of the 28
EU nations. It was stable in Italy and had risen in Austria,
Denmark and Estonia. The sharpest decreases were in Croatia,
Slovakia and Spain.
For full Eurostat data click on:
(Editing by Alastair Macdonald)