July 1, 2014 / 9:00 AM / in 3 years

Euro zone unemployment stable in May

BRUSSELS, July 1 (Reuters) - Euro zone unemployment was stable for the second consecutive month in May at 11.6 percent, official data showed on Tuesday, underlining that the recovery in the bloc is far from strong enough to spur solid job creation.

Around 18.5 million people were without a job in May in the 18 countries sharing the euro, although that was 28,000 less than in April, the EU’s statistics office Eurostat said.

The April reading was revised to 11.6 percent from the previously reported 11.7 percent.

Joblessness in the single currency area, which remains close to the record high of 12 percent seen last year, is expected to fall very slowly from current levels to 11.4 percent next year, the European Commission says.

Joblessness, differing widely across the euro zone, has been stuck at almost 19 million people for the last few months and shows the impact of the worst financial crisis in a generation.

While twice bailed-out Greece and Spain struggle with unemployment at above 25 percent, the bloc’s growth engine Germany has an unemployment level of 5.1 percent. Austria, with 4.7 percent, has the lowest unemployment in the euro zone.

The 9.5 trillion euro economy rose for the fourth consecutive quarter at the beginning of the year, but the growth pace in the first quarter was weaker than expected as the economy struggles to shift its rebound into a higher gear.

Youth unemployment in the single currency area is especially worrying in number of countries, with one in every two Spaniards younger than 25 without a job.

Overall in the euro zone, youth joblessness stands at 23.3 percent in May.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ For May unemployment TABLE pls see: (Reporting by Martin Santa; editing by Robin Emmott)

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