Unemployment in the 13 nations that use the euro fell to a new record low of 7.2 percent in October, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said Monday, as Europe's recent growth spurt cut jobseeker queues that are the longest in the industrialized world.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate across the entire 27-nation European Union held steady from September at 7 percent.
Eurostat said 11.1 million people were out of work in the euro area, forming part of the 18.4 million unemployed in the EU as a whole.
Poland saw the number of jobless decline most dramatically from a year ago -- from 12.6 percent in October 2006 to 8.8 percent this year -- as its economy grows and large numbers of Poles seek work elsewhere in western Europe.
Only Slovakia has a higher unemployment rate at 11.2 percent. Portugal reported the worst figure for the euro currency zone -- 8.5 percent -- as unemployment there and in Ireland increased the most from a year ago.
The EU's largest economy, Germany, had 8.1 percent unemployment in October.
At the other end of the scale, Denmark -- not a part of the euro currency zone -- had the lowest proportion of jobless at 2.9 percent. Euro nation the Netherlands reported the next lowest figure at 3.1 percent.
The euro unemployment rate is now the lowest since records began 15 years ago. But it is still far higher than the rates Eurostat records for the United States -- 4.7 percent -- and Japan -- 4 percent.