Employment in the EU increased by a pretty paltry 0.1 per cent at the end of last year, from the previous quarter. And year-on-year, it fell 0.5 per cent in the euro area and by 0.1 per cent in the EU28.
Eurostat, which releases the seasonally-adjusted figures, estimates that 223.6m people were employed in the EU 28 in the fourth quarter, with 145m of those in the euro area.
In the third quarter of 2013, employment remained stable in the euro area and increased by 0.1 per cent in the EU28.
Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight says that, while the data is relatively encouraging, unemployment is still "worryingly high" across the Eurozone, with it seeming unlikely to "come down markedly any time soon given probably gradual recovery".
Consumer spending should be bolstered by a stabilising labour market, low inflation and improved confidence over the coming months, he adds, but cautions that "any improvement still seems most likely to be gradual, given that unemployment is still high overall and earnings growth is generally weak."