Eurozone unemployment falls for first time in two years

15th of August 2013
Eurozone unemployment falls for first time in two years

The number of unemployed people in the eurozone has fallen for the first time in over two years, the latest sign the bloc may be on the road to recovery from recession.

In June 24,000 fewer Europeans in the single currency area were jobless compared with May, EU statistics agency Eurostat said. This is the first decrease since April 2011.

However the fall in eurozone joblessness was not enough to bring down the overall unemployment figures for the EU, which remained at a record 12.1% for the fourth consecutive month - more than 19 million people.

Despite the tentative improvement in eurozone employment, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) expressed concern about the knock-on effects of high joblessness and the austerity measures being pursued by governments.

"Ten months before the European elections, mass unemployment together with wage-cutting policies are a dangerous mix for citizens'support for the European project," the ETUC, which represents labour organisations in 36 countries, said.

"The ETUC warns European leaders: a change of direction is urgently needed to restore growth and confidence."

ETUC released a wage report showing that in the majority of countries where unemployment has risen, salaries are falling, "with serious consequences in terms of growing poverty risk and social exclusion".

The eurozone countries with the sharpest wage declines since 2009 were Greece and Portugal - both of which have been propped up by EU-bailouts - along with Estonia.



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