September 30, 2019 / 9:02 AM / 14 days ago

Euro zone unemployment in surprise fall to lowest rate in more than a decade

    BRUSSELS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The unemployment rate in the
euro zone dropped in August to its lowest level in more than a
decade continuing its five-year-long downward trend, estimates
from the European Union statistics office showed on Monday.
    The jobless rate in the 19-country currency bloc fell to
7.4% in August, reaching its lowest level since May 2008 when
the euro zone's economy began to feel the negative impact of the
subprime mortgage crisis in the United States.
    The drop from 7.5% in July prolonged a positive trend begun
in August 2014 when unemployment was at 11.5%. Since then, the
rate has continuously fallen or has remained every month for
five years.
    August's fall came as a surprise, as the average forecast of
economists polled by Reuters showed the rate was expected to
remain unchanged from July.
    The jobless rate fell in August in the countries where it is
highest, in a sign that economic difference between countries of
the bloc are shrinking, although they remain wide.
    In Spain, the unemployment fell to 13.8% in August from
13.9% in July, while in Italy it went down to 9.5% from 9.8%. In
Greece, the country in the bloc with the highest rate, it
dropped to 17.0% in June, the last month for which data are
available there.
    In Germany, the euro zone's largest economy, the rate was
stable at 3.1% in August. In France it was unchaged at 8.5%.

 (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio)
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