Despite extensive labor market reforms in many member countries, the unemployment rate in the eurozone has remained at a record high. However, business leaders appeared more confident about a pickup in the economy.
Europe's statistics office reported Friday unemployment in the 17-member eurozone remained steady at its record high of 12.1 percent, even though the jobless total decreased by 15,000.
Eurostat said there were 19.23 million people out of work in the bloc in the month under review. Unemployment in the wider 28-member European Union stood unchanged at 11 percent, with 26.6 million people seeking employment.
Despite a rather stagnant job market, confidence among business managers polled by the European Commission rose in the euro area for its fourth successive month.
Positive assessments about future economic developments came particularly from Germany and the Netherlands, but also from debt-stricken nations such as Italy, France and Spain.
"The most acute phase of the crisis and the toughest period of belt-tightening is behind us," Goldman Sachs economist Dirk Schumacher told Reuters news agency.
In a separate release, Eurostat on Friday said annual inflation in the eurozone would be 1.3 percent, down from 1.6 percent in the previous month, with the drop being attributed mainly to lower energy prices.
hg/hc (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)