The number of persons employed decreased by 0. 3pct in the euro area and by 0.2pct in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the previous quarter, according to figures published Thursday by Eurostat, the EU\'s statistical office. Over the whole year 2012, employment decreased by 0.7pct in the euro area and by 0.4pct in the EU, compared with 0.3pct in both zones in 2011. Eurostat estimates that, in the 2012 fourth quarter, 222.6 million men and women were employed in the EU, of which 145.7 million were in the euro area. The euro area includes 17 countries which use the common currency euro.