Factory activity in the euro zone expanded for the ninth straight month in March, albeit at a slower pace than seen last month as the peripheral nations balanced out the slowing core nations, as unemployment remained close to its record high.
Unemployment in the euro area remained stuck at 11.9 percent in February, hardly moving from this time last year, when the figure was 12 percent, according to the European Statistics Office, Eurostat.
Joblessness in the region has been stable since October 2013 following downward revisions of the last few months. Manufacturing and unemployment saw divergence, as growth picked up factory activity in France and Italy while joblessness increased slightly.
Eurostat estimates that 18.965 million men and 25.920 million women were unemployed in the euro area in February. The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria, with 4.8 percent, followed by Germany at 5.1 percent and Luxembourg (6.1 percent). The highest was recorded in Greece and Spain with 27.5 and 25.6 percent respectively.
Bill Adams, senior international economist for PNC Financial Services Group said the decline in the reported unemployment rate in February from January’s original release is “methodological noise”.
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