The number of persons employed in the 27-member European Union increased by 0.1% in the second quarter of 2012 compared with the previous quarter. Employment rate in the 17-member euro area remained stable during the same period, according to figures released on Friday by Eurostat, the EU's statistical office. The highest increase in employment was recorded in real estate activities and the largest drop in financial and insurance activities. Compared with the same quarter of the year 2011, employment fell by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU in the second quarter of 2012 Eurostat estimated that, in the second quarter of 2012, 223.4 million men and women were employed in the EU, of which 146.4 million were in the euro area. Meanwhile, Eurostat reported that EU annual inflation was 2.7% in August, up from 2.5% in July. Euro area annual inflation was 2.6% in August 2012, up from 2.4% in July.