Eurozone Unemployment Rate Down Slightly In March
The eurozone's economy is showing some vitality, after several stunning years of financial setback.
Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, reports the euro area's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.8 percent in March. That figure has remained stable for the last four months and was down from 12 percent in March of 2013.
Timo del Carpio, a European economist at RBC Capital Markets, told the BBC the new figures "lend more weight to the view that unemployment in the euro area peaked late last year, which will offer some degree of reassurance to policymakers that the recovery is slowly gaining traction."
Nearly 19 million people remain unemployed in the 18-nation eurozone, however.
And while sectors such as manufacturing are showing better figures, the region's recovery is still very uneven. The lowest eurozone jobless rates were seen in Austria (4.9 percent), Germany (5.1 percent) and Luxembourg (6.1 percent) – while unemployment in Italy was close to 13 percent. In Spain, the jobless rate last month was 25.3 percent, while in Greece figures for January were the highest in the eurozone, at 26.7 percent.
"The cross-country divergence is still very, very significant, much more so than in other data," Frederik Ducrozet, a senior euro zone economist at Credit Agricole, said during an interview with Reuters. "There is a lag right now which is usual, but unless there is another shock to the economy, the unemployment rate should decline," he said.
However, there are concerns about the the continuing high unemployment rates for Europe's younger workers. While overall youth unemployment in the eurozone came in at 23.7 percent last month, compared to 24 percent in March of 2013, nearly half of younger workers in Croatia were jobless during the first quarter of 2014, compared to nearly 54 percent in Spain and 56.8 percent in Greece.
Germany and Austria had the lowest youth unemployment levels in the eurozone, at 7.8 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.
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