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Eurozone unemployment falls to more than 7-year low

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The eurozone jobless rate in February fell to its lowest level since May 2009 as a resurgent hiring spree took hold despite uncertainty over Brexit, EU data showed Monday.

[BRUSSELS] The eurozone jobless rate in February fell to its lowest level since May 2009 as a resurgent hiring spree took hold despite uncertainty over Brexit, EU data showed Monday.

The Eurostat statistics agency said the jobless rate in the 19-nation eurozone fell to 9.5 per cent, with sustained drops in Spain and Portugal also a factor.

During the worst of the debt crisis, unemployment in the single currency bloc peaked at 12.1 per cent.

The fall in unemployment will add to a list of arguments from powerhouse Germany that the European Central Bank should stop its massive stimulus programme as early as possible.

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The ECB, led by its chief Mario Draghi, is at pains to stress that despite the series of positive economic signals, it may be too soon to pull back on the programme.

Eurostat on Friday gave ammunition to Mr Dragi's argument to maintain the stimulus, reporting that inflation had dropped to 1.5 per cent, well-below the ECB's target.

By country in November, Europe's top economy Germany had one of the lowest eurozone jobless rate at 3.9 per cent, while Greece at 23.1 per cent was the worst.

France, the second biggest economy in the eurozone, remained stuck at 10 per cent.

Spain continued its steady drop, landing at 18 per cent. While still high, this was a big drop from 20.5 per cent 12 months before.

AFP

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