#UK Eurozone unemployment just dropped to a 4-year low — and Germany’s jobless rate has never been lower

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Eurozone unemployment dropped to a four-year low last month, with a better rate than analysts expected.

Unemployment fell to 10.7% from 10.8%, leaving it at the lowest level since the end of 2011, during the midst of the crippling euro crisis.

German unemployment actually slumped to a record low, at 6.3% — the lowest rates since the country was reunified at the end of the Cold War.

When the statistical method for calculating jobless numbers harmonised with other European countries, the unemployment rate is even lower at just 4.5%.

Though the figures for the eurozone are still high overall, they’re down from 12.2% in mid-2013, a decline of 1.5 percentage points in a year and a half.

The eurozone is recovering, but it’s taking its sweet time about it. Since emerging from recession in the middle of 2013, growth has averaged just 0.3% per quarter, a pretty slugging pace, and less than half the pre-crisis average rate.

Growth seemed to be accelerating up to the beginning of this year — Q2, Q3 and Q4 of 2014’s growth figures came in at 0.1%, 0.3% and 0.4% respectively, followed by the 0.5% burst during Q1 this year, when the European Central Bank announced QE. But the pace has now moderated again — falling to 0.4% and 0.3% respectively in Q2 and Q3 this year.

Much of southern Europe still has extremely elevated growth rates. Unemployment is still over 20% in Spain, despite the country’s relatively rapid recovery.

And there’s still a handful of eurozone countries where unemployment is stubbornly hard to shift — France’s rate actually rose from 10.5% to 10.7% when compared to the same month in 2014.

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