Demonstration against youth unemployment in front of the Chancellery in Berlin
Eurozone unemployment eased off record highs in October, official data showed Friday, a modest improvement in line with other recent data, but youth jobless numbers edged up. Unemployment in the 17-nation single currency bloc
fell to 12.1 percent in October from 12.2 percent in September, the Eurostat statistics agency said.
Total people out of work dropped by 61,000 to 19.3 million.
In the 28-member European Union, the unemployment rate was flat at 10.9 percent in October, with the total out of work down 75,000 at 26.65 million.
The worst affected continued to be twice-bailed out Greece with 27.3 percent, according to the latest available figures for August, with Spain at 26.7 percent, up from 26.6 percent in September.
Eurozone powerhouse Germany had a jobless rate of 5.2 percent, unchanged, with neighbour Austria the best on 4.8 percent, down from 4.9 percent.
View gallery."Students at an anti-austerity protest in Lisbon on …
Students at an anti-austerity protest in Lisbon on February 27, 2013 (AFP Photo/Patricia de Melo Mor …
In October 2012, eurozone unemployment was at 11.7 percent and the EU at 10.7 percent, showing how the dole queues have grown steadily in the past year but at a slightly slower pace than at the height of the debt crisis.
Under-25 youth unemployment -- a sensitive political and economic issue amid concerns about a 'lost generation' -- rose to 24.4 percent or 3.58 million from 23.3 percent or 3.56 million, it said.
Youth jobless rates have risen steadily despite the EU's best efforts to tackle the problem, heaping pressure on governments to ease up on debt crisis austerity policies.
Analysts said the fall in the headline unemployment rate was welcome but does very little to change the outlook.
The October report "is a modest pleasant surprise but does not change the picture of a very weak labour market," said Johnathan Loynes of Capital Economics.
"Growth is nowhere near strong enough to make serious inroads into the jobless totals, particularly in the peripheral countries where unemployment is highest – note that the unemployment rate rose further in Spain," Loynes said.
"In short, unemployment is still high and deflation risks persist."