Unemployment in the European Union fell to its lowest point since February 2009 but youth unemployment rose sharply, adding further weight to concerns about the uneven nature of Europe's recovery.
The unemployment rate in the EU fell to 8.3 per cent in November, down 0.1 percentage points from the month before, according to the European Commission. However, seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rose by 0.3 percentage points in the Eurozone to 21.2 per cent.
The Eurozone measure of unemployment, which the European Central Bank (ECB) watches closely, remained flat at 9.8 per cent after falling below 10 per cent in September for the first time since 2011.
Eurozone unemployment has steadily fallen from its 2013 highs, but youth unemployment – referring to the proportion of 18- to 25-year-olds out of work – remains at a very high proportion. Spain's rate of youth unemployment climbed to 44.4 per cent in November.
ECB president Mario Draghi has been staunch in his assertion that accommodative monetary policy has been a key driver of the fragile European recovery.
Dennis de Jong, managing director at UFX.com, said: “Though the EU unemployment rate data from November is unchanged, observers will take heart at the significant rise of investor confidence which follows a string of quietly positive numbers for ECB president Mario Draghi."
Draghi reiterated his commitment to ultra-loose monetary policy – including an extension of the duration of quantitative easing – at the last interest rate-setting meeting of the ECB's Governing Council. The ECB is keen to avoid a repeat of the US "taper tantrum".
Bond yields surged in 2013 on news that the Federal Reserve was withdrawing its quantitative easing programme.