January 9, 2019 / 10:05 AM / a year ago

Euro zone unemployment unexpectedly falls to 10-year low

FILE PHOTO: People enter a government-run employment office in Madrid January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Unemployment in the euro zone unexpectedly fell in November to its lowest rate in more than ten years, official estimates released on Wednesday showed.

The EU statistics office Eurostat said unemployment in the 19-country currency bloc dropped to 7.9 percent in November, the lowest level since October 2008, and below economists’ forecasts of an 8.1 percent rate.

Eurostat also revised down its October reading to 8.0 percent from a previous estimate of 8.1 percent.

The fall was partly caused by a drop of the number of jobless in Italy and Spain which still have the highest unemployment rates in the euro zone after Greece.

Unemployment fell to 14.7 percent in Spain from 14.8 percent in October. It went down to 10.5 percent in Italy from 10.6 percent. The latest figures available for Greece show an 18.6 percent rate in September.

The rate of jobless in Germany and France, the two largest economies of the euro zone, remained stable at respectively 3.3 percent and 8.9 percent.

In the wider 28-country European Union, unemployment remained stable at 6.7 percent in November, Eurostat estimated.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio

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