Tuesday 3 June 2014 8:31 pm

Spain and Portugal lead bloc for labour lift as jobless count drops

THE UNEMPLOYMENT rate in the Eurozone dropped to its lowest level in a year and a half in April, according to figures published in Brussels yesterday.

The proportion of the labour force out of work and seeking employment fell to 11.7 per cent, from 11.8 per cent in March. The rate has slowly declined since a recent peak of 12.2 per cent at the end of summer last year.

Some of the hardest-hit peripheral economies in Europe showed the most improvement. Spanish unemployment has dropped from 26.3 per cent in April last year to 25.1 per cent, and Portuguese unemployment is down nearly three percentage points to 14.6 per cent.

In comparison, French and Italian unemployment rates rose slightly during the period, despite the end of the Eurozone recession.

Youth joblessness is still extremely elevated, at 23.5 per cent across the Eurozone.