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Euro zone jobless at 3 year low
01 Sep 2015 10:10
Unemployment in the euro zone unexpectedly fell to its lowest level in more than three years in July with a sharp decline in the volatile figure in Italy.
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The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said that euro zone unemployment was 10.9% in July, the first time it fell below 11% since February 2012.
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It had been 11.1% for the previous three months and economists had on average expected no change in July, according to a Reuters poll.
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For the 28-member European Union as a whole, the unemployment rate was 9.5%, the lowest level since June 2011.
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The overall number of people unemployed in the euro area decreased by 213,000 compared with June and by 232,000 in the entire European Union.
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Of the 17 euro zone members for which July data was reported, the number of unemployed people fell in nine countries, was unchanged in five and rose in just three - Finland, France and Lithuania.
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The decline was sharpest in Italy, with a 143,000 drop after a 45,000 person increase in June, while the decrease in Spain was 57,000.
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The lowest unemployment rates were in Germany, at 4.7%, followed by the Czech Republic and Malta, both at 5.1%.
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The highest rate, of 25%, was in Greece according to the latest available May data, followed by Spain at 22.2%.
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Youth unemployment also declined significantly to 21.9% from 22.3% in June.
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