Euro-zone jobless rate eases off record highs

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Euro-zone unemployment eased off record highs in October, official data showed on Friday, a modest improvement in line with other recent data but youth jobless numbers edged up.

Unemployment in the 17-nation single currency bloc fell to 12.1 per cent in October from 12.2 per cent in September, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

Total people out of work dropped by 61,000 to 19.3 million.

Under-25 youth unemployment - a sensitive political and economic issue amid concerns about a 'lost generation' - rose to 24.4 per cent or 3.58 million from 23.3 per cent or 3.56 million, it said.

Youth jobless rates have risen steadily despite the European Union's best efforts to tackle the problem, heaping pressure on governments to ease up on debt crisis austerity policies.

In the 28-member European Union (EU), the unemployment rate was flat at 10.9 per cent in October, with the total out of work down 75,000 at 26.65 million.

In October 2012, eurozone unemployment was at 11.7 per cent and the EU at 10.7 per cent, showing how the dole queues have grown steadily in the past year but at a slightly slower pace than at the height of the debt crisis.