Europe finally creates more jobs
Unemployment falls for the first time since 2011, but it's a tiny improvement: More than 19 million are still out of work.
Given how the eurozone has reacted since the start of the financial crisis, we're assuming they'll take the latter option. Figures from Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, indicate the number of unemployed in the 17 European Union nations that use the euro currency fell by 24,000 in June to 19.27 million. That's not much, but it's the first drop since April 2011.
Before folks even consider declaring an end to the European recession and debt crisis, it may be best to wait on next month's figures. Those are expected to show modest growth during the second quarter, thanks mainly to a rebound in Germany, Europe's economic juggernaut.
Production has stopped tailing off as well, with Spain just about ending its recession in the second quarter. There's even hope that problem child Greece could start growing again by year-end, even though its production has already decreased nearly 20%.
Even with the recent drop, however, joblessness across the region has increased by 1.13 million over the last year. It's still absolutely abysmal in the most affected countries. Spain's unemployment fell, but only from 6 million to 5.96 million. That scarcely changed the unemployment rate, which now sits at 26.3% compared to 26.4% last month.
Even though the eurozone's overall unemployment rate beat estimates, it's still at a record-high 12.1%. The rate of inflation has also stalled at 1.6%, below the European Central Bank's 2% goal. That makes the bank wary of dropping its interest rate from its record low of 0.5%.
The latest jobs numbers don't exactly reflect a pillar of stability. But for a region that has spent years with both its labor situation and finances heading in the wrong direction, they're a start.
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Investors are anxious to see if hiring can maintain its strong pace in the second half of the year.
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