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Eurozone unemployment posts first fall in two years

The number of unemployed in the countries that use the euro has fallen for the first time since April 2011. The fall in June came amid brightening economic prospects, suggesting an end to the bloc’s stubborn recession.

Unemployment in the eurozone fell to 19.27 million people in June - some 24,000 fewer than in the previous month of May, according to the latest figures released by the EU statistics office, Eurostat, on Wednesday.

The first month-on-month drop since April 2011, however, didn't reflect in the unemployment rate, which remained unchanged at 12.1 percent after Eurostat had revised the figure for May.

In the wider 28-member European Union, unemployment also fell slightly in June, dropping to 10.9 percent from 11 percent in May, Eurostat said.

The slight easing of the jobs crisis in Europe comes as economic activity and business confidence are recovering, raising hopes of an end to the recession, notably in debt-laden eurozone countries.

In Spain, for example, the number of people out of work fell to 5.96 million in June from 6 million in May, Eurostat data showed. The lowest joblessness in Europe was reported from Austria and Germany with June rates of 4.6 percent and 5.4 percent respectively.

However, Eurostat data also showed that unemployment among young people under the age of 25 remained stubbornly high and was even growing.

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EU youth without work

In this age group, 3.53 million people were jobless in the eurozone, bringing the rate to 23.9 percent from 23.8 in May. The most harrowing youth jobless numbers were again reported from Greece and Spain, where 58 percent and 56 percent of the young people were out of work.

uhe/tj (AFP, dpa, AP)

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