Euro zone retail sales up, unemployment down in April

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Euro zone retail sales rose and unemployment fell in April, the European Union's statistics office data showed on Wednesday, adding to signs of economic recovery in the single currency area.

Eurostat said retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.7 percent month-on-month in April for a 2.2 percent year-on-year increase -- above the market consensus of a 2.0 percent annual rise.

"Although consumer confidence has waned slightly in the bloc in May, it remains at high levels and the data suggest that consumption could post another strong quarter in Q2," said Colin Bermingham, economist at BNP Paribas.

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Unemployment, an indicator that usually reacts to economic developments with a lag, fell to 11.1 percent of the workforce in April from a downwardly revised 11.2 percent in March as the number of people without jobs fell by 130,000 people to 17.846 million.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a smaller fall in the number of unemployed -- to 11.2 percent. The data adds to other signs of economic recovery in the euro zone, which returned to inflation in May after five months of falling prices and stagnation, following an acceleration of economic growth in the first quarter of 2015.

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