Euro zone jobless level down for first time in 2 years
BRUSSELS (AP) - Further evidence emerged on Wednesday that the euro zone economy is on the mend after struggling with a recession that has seen unemployment edge toward the 20 million mark.
Figures from Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, showed that the number of unemployed across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro fell by 24,000 in June to 19.27 million. That's the first fall since April 2011 and adds to the weight of recent evidence that suggests the recession in the euro zone has - or is about to - come to an end.
The euro zone economy has been shrinking since the last quarter of 2011 as a raging debt crisis prompted many countries to pursue tough austerity policies that weighed on economic activity and confidence.
However, many analysts think figures next month will show the region may have eked out a modest growth during the second quarter, thanks mainly to a rebound in Germany, Europe's biggest economy.