Official figures show Eurozone employment has fallen again

 
Ben Southwood
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EMPLOYMENT slid further across the Eurozone in the fourth quarter last year, according to figures published yesterday.

Total employment was 0.3 per cent lower in the last three months of 2012 than between July and September, and 0.8 per cent lower than the same quarter a year earlier, the Brussels-based Eurostat office said.

Worst hit was beleaguered periphery member Greece, where the number with jobs crashed by 6.5 per cent over the year.

Spain also suffered, with a fourth quarter drop of 1.4 per cent capping off a 4.5 per cent plunge in employment over the year.

And separate figures saw Spanish retail sales collapse 10.2 per cent over the year, in the 31st successive month showing an annual decline.

However, bond markets ate up short-term Spanish debt, with paper due in 2029 fetching a yield of 5.22 per cent, down from 5.79 per cent in the last auction.

This came as the European Central Bank (ECB) made the case for further austerity amongst the struggling member economies of the Eurozone. The countries would need not only to tame deficits, but also bring down their debt-to-GDP ratios, the ECB said, in order “to support long-term growth.”