EU and eurozone jobless rate remain steady

BRUSSELS (AP) — Europe’s statistics office says the July unemployment rate across the 17 nations using the euro has remained steady at its record high of 12.1 percent — even though the jobless total decreased by 15,000.

Eurostat said Friday the number of unemployed in the eurozone was down to 19.23 million, marking the second consecutive fall since April 2011 and adding to recent indications suggesting the bloc’s economy continues to grow.

It says the unemployment rate for the 28-nation European Union held steady at 11 percent as the number of jobless fell 33,000 to 7.42 million.

The eurozone’s economy shrunk from the end of 2011 through to the first quarter of this year as a debt crisis prompted many countries to pursue tough austerity policies that weighed on growth and confidence.

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