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Euro Zone Unemployment Holds Steady

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LONDON–Although considered miserable by American standards, the 16-nation euro zone’s 10% unemployment in May is a sign that a long and steady deterioration in the labor market may have stopped. But the outlook remains pessimistic as government austerity programs start to bite, Reuters reports.

The European Union’s statistical office also said producer prices remained subdued in May, in line with expectations, pointing to low underlying inflation pressure.

According to Reuters, Eurostat said 15.789 million people were jobless in the euro zone in May, 35,000 more than in April. For that month, the figure was revised to 10% from 10.1%. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected unemployment at 10.1%, the highest level in almost 12 years.

Broken out by country, euro-zone joblessness was unchanged thanks to a drop in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, to 7% from 7.1%. Unemployment increased in crisis-hit Spain to 19.9% from 19.7%, but held steady in France and Italy.

The lowest unemployment across the full 27-nation European Union was registered in Austria at 4% and the highest in Latvia at 20%.