Eurozone unemployment rate begins to fall

Unemployed people queue outside an unemployment registry office in Madrid
Image caption Spain still has the highest rate of unemployment in the eurozone

The unemployment rate in the eurozone area has begun to fall, official figures show.

For the first time in over a year the percentage of people out of work dipped below 10%, having dropped in February to 9.9%.

However, the unemployment rate diverges widely within the 17 eurozone countries, Eurostat figures show.

Spain's jobless rate stands at 20.5%, while 4.3% of the Netherlands' population is unemployed.

Spain's unemployment rate edged up in February having stood at 20.4% the previous month.

However, in Germany the jobless rate continued to fall and now stands at 6.3%.

Eurostat, who compile the official figures, had previously estimated the eurozone unemployment rate for January at 9.9%, but this has now been revised up to 10%.

Eurostat estimates 15.8 million people are unemployed in the 17 countries that have adopted the euro.

The unemployment rate for males fell to 9.7% in February, down from 9.9% twelve months earlier.

However, during the same period, the female unemployment rate rose from 10.1% to 10.2%.

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