Unemployment in the Eurozone dropped to 10.4 per cent in December, according to figures released this morning.
While it is a high rate globally, and far higher than the UK's 5.1 per cent, it marks the lowest rate of unemployment in the currency-bloc since 2011. It is also down from 11.4 per cent on year ago, the figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, show.
The unemployment rate for under-25s edged down to 22 per cent from 23 per cent in the same month last year. However, it remains stubbornly high in Greece and Spain, where nearly one in two under-25s unemployed.
In Germany, the unemployment rate remained at a record low of 4.5 per cent.
Total EU unemployment is lower than in the Eurozone at nine per cent down from 9.9 per cent a year ago.
"The marked overall drop in Eurozone unemployment through to December, together with ongoing negligible inflation should be supportive to consumer spending, which will hopefully allow it to play a key role in sustaining reasonable growth," said Howard Archer, chief economist at analysts IHS.
Archer added that unemployment should continue to trend downward, but said: "Eurozone business confidence did dip in January amid heightened global economic uncertainties and financial market volatility, and there is the risk that heightened concerns about the economic outlook could cause Eurozone companies to become more cautious in their employment plans."