Euro zone unemployment falls to lowest level since 2009

Drop seen as sign of growth picking up the pace

A a job centre in Lille, northern France.

A a job centre in Lille, northern France.

 

Joblessness in the euro area declined to the lowest level since early 2009, adding to evidence that the 19-nation economy has found its feet.

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.7 per cent in November from 8.8 per cent the previous month, according to a report from Eurostat on Tuesday.

After a bleak period beset with bank failures, record joblessness and a sovereign-debt crisis that jeopardised the currency union and triggered unprecedented stimulus by the European Central Bank, the region’s economy is returning to health.

Economic growth last year was probably the quickest in a decade, and the pace of expansion in 2018 is forecast to be almost as fast.

The better momentum is being reflected in a better labour market and elevated business sentiment. In Spain, the jobless rate is at a nine-year low, while Germany’s is the lowest on record. Italy’s unemployment rate dropped to the lowest since September, 2012, providing a much-needed boost to the ruling Democratic Party before the March general election, according to a separate release on Tuesday.

- Bloomberg