Euro zone jobless rate dips slightly to 10.3%

Jobseekers hold documents as they queue at service desks inside a Pole Emploi job center, the French national employment agency, in Montauban, France
Balint Pornecz | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jobseekers hold documents as they queue at service desks inside a Pole Emploi job center, the French national employment agency, in Montauban, France

Unemployment across the 19-country euro zone improved slightly in February, according to official data, but nonetheless one in 10 people across the single currency group are still without work.

Figures from Eurostat, the European Union's statistics service, showed that February unemployment dropped slightly from January's 10.4 percent to 10.3 percent in February. Across the broader 28-country EU, the figure was 8.9 percent, unchanged from the month before.

The figures are not uniform across the whole of the euro zone, however: Germany has the lowest unemployment rate at 4.3 percent while one in five people in Spain and Greece are still without a job.

The figures for young people make even more sobering reading, with the euro zone total at 21.6 percent. In Greece and Spain, almost every other person aged under 25 is out of work.

Howard Archer, chief U.K. and European economist at IHS Global Insight, warned that, even though the jobless figures are heading in the right direction, the decline of 39,000 was the smallest drop in nearly a year.

"This stokes concern that recent slower euro zone GDP (gross domestic product) growth and softer business confidence could now be increasingly weighing down on the labor market," he said in a note Monday.

"February's fall in euro-zone unemployment suggests that the labor market remains in reasonable health, although it is still too weak to generate any real inflationary pressure," said Jennifer McKeown, senior European economist at Capital Economics, in a note Monday

Inflation figures for the 19-country group released last week showed the euro zone remained stuck in deflation territory at minus 0.1 percent.

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