The unemployment rate for the eurozone stood at 12.1 percent in July, the same as the previous month and also the highest since such statistics were first publicised in 1995, European Union (EU) statistics office said Friday.
The European labor report Friday showed the number of unemployed dropped by 50,000 during June and July, but that leaves more than 19 million workers without jobs throughout the eurozone.
The number of people without work in the 17-nation eurozone fell 15,000 to 19.23 million, after a drop of 35,000 in June, the Eurostat statistics agency said.
In the full 28-member European Union — including Croatia which joined in July — the unemployment rate was unchanged at 11 percent, with 26.65 million jobless, down 33,000 from June when the total shed 43,000.
Analysts say this is a sign that the eurozone economy, collectively the biggest in the world, is beginning to show signs of advancing after a year and a half of recession. Earlier this month, the eurozone reported economy growth edged ahead by three-tenths of one percent in the April-to-June period.
Economist Carsten Brzeski of ING bank said the question remains whether growth in Germany, Europe\’s biggest economy, is enough to help weaker European economies still mired in recession.
The data Friday showed Austria with the lowest unemployment at 4.8 percent in July, followed by Germany, Europe\’s powerhouse economy, on 5.3 percent.
The highest rates were in twice-bailed out Greece at 27.6 percent — according to the latest available figures for May — and Spain, on 26.3 percent.
Youth unemployment, the 16-25 age bracket, continued very high at 24 percent in the eurozone and 23.4 percent in the EU, after 23.9 percent and 23.5 percent respectively in June.
Compared with June, Eurostat figures showed the total 16-25 jobless numbers were down 16,000 in the eurozone and dropped 38,000 in the EU. Compared with a year earlier, there were falls of 16,000 and 53,000.
Greece was the again the worst affected, with a youth jobless rate of 62.9 percent, while Spain was at 56.1 percent in July.
The European Central Bank says it expects modest growth for the remainder of 2013.