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Eurozone unemployment rate dips below 12% in February

 Eurozone recovery accelerates with 0.3% growth in Q4 /AFP


BRUSSELS, April 1 – The Eurozone unemployment rate dipped to 11.9 percent in February, according to official data on Tuesday which also slightly revised the rates for recent months.

There were about 18.96 million unemployed people in the eurozone in February, down 35,000 from the January level and 166,000 from a year earlier, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

Unemployment rates were lowest in Austria, with a jobless rate of 4.8 percent, Germany with 5.1 percent and Luxembourg at 6.1 percent.

However, unemployment in Greece remained at 27.5 percent in December, the month with the latest data available, and Spain, where 25.6 percent of the workforce was looking for work in February.

In the past year, the job market has deteriorated badly in Cyprus, where unemployment rose from 14.7 percent in February last year to 16.7 percent in 2014.

Unemployment in the Netherlands also rose in the period, from 6.2 percent in February 2013, to 7.3 percent this year.

The rate in bailed-out eurozone members Ireland and Portugal improved however. In Portugal it fell from 17.5 percent in 2013 to 15.3 percent in February this year. Irish unemployment dropped from 13.7 percent to 11.9 percent.

On the sidelines of a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Athens, Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said that while much progress was still needed, the data in Portugal pointed in the right direction.

In February, youth unemployment across the single currency bloc fell in February to 23.5 percent from 23.6 percent a month earlier.

But again, the disparities between member countries were wide with youth unemployment in Germany at 7.7 percent, but at a staggering 58.3 percent in Greece for December and 53.6 percent in Spain.

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Across all the 28 member European Union, unemployment was at 10.6 percent in February, down from 10.7 percent in January.

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