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Euro zone Dec unemployment stable at 8.3% as expected

FILE PHOTO: People visit the Pole Emploi (National Agency for Employment) stand at the Young Entrepreneurs fair in Paris, France, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone unemployment was stable at 8.3% of the workforce in December, the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said on Monday, despite continued coronavirus lockdowns in most euro zone countries.

Still, Eurostat said 13.671 million people were out of work in the 19 countries sharing the euro in December, up from 13.616 million in November.

In Belgium, Ireland, Cyprus, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia the number of people unemployed actually fell in December, but it rose slightly in other countries, such as Germany, France and Italy.

To keep unemployment levels down during the pandemic, euro zone countries have been using furlough systems where governments subsidise a portion of wages to help employers keep staff on their payrolls. This prevents layoffs and means production capacity can more easily rebound.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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