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Eurozone unemployment stable at eight-year low

Unemployment in the eurozone remained unchanged in August underlining Europe's steady economic recovery. Youth unemployment nonetheless remains high in many countries.

German worker (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Heinl)

Official figures released by Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency, show that the number of people out of work across the 19 countries sharing the euro currency edged down further in August, but that the overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at its lowest level since early 2009.

The number of jobless fell by 42,000 to 14.75 million. Despite this, the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent but is down from 9.9 percent in August 2016, the Eurostat statistics agency said in a news release.

It's the latest piece of good news for the region and has stoked expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) may soon begin to reduce its stimulus.

The young and restless

The overall unemployment rate throughout the 28 countries of the European Union was 7.6 percent in August, down from 7.7 percent in July and from 8.5 percent in August 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU since November 2008.

The country with the lowest overall unemployment is the Czech Republic at 2.9 percent, followed by Germany and Malta. The highest unemployment rates were recorded in Greece and Spain.

Youth unemployment — defined as those under 25 —remained high though. In the eurozone countries nearly 2.7 million youth were out of work, a decrease of 240,000 from the previous month. In Europe as a whole, over 3.7 million were looking for work, a decrease of 426,000.

Here again Greece tops the list with the highest rate of youth joblessness at 43 percent, followed by Spain and Italy, according to Eurostat.

By comparison the unemployment rate in the United States was 4.4 percent in August, down from 4.9 percent for the same month in 2016.

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tr/mm (AP, AFP)

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