Eurozone unemployment edges down for 15th month running

BRUSSELS – Official figures show that unemployment across the 19-country eurozone fell in December for the 15th month running to its lowest level in a little more than four years.

Statistics agency Eurostat said Tuesday the number out of work decreased by 49,000 to a total of 16.5 million. The last time unemployment was lower was October 2011.

A spokesman for Eurostat said the run of declines was the longest the eurozone has experienced since a 25-month stretch that ended in November 2007.

As a result, the unemployment rate fell from 10.5 per cent to 10.4 per cent, its lowest since September 2011.

The overall numbers continue to mask big disparities. While Germany’s unemployment rate stands at 4.5 per cent, according to Eurostat, Greece and Spain remain lumbered by jobless rates above 20 per cent.