Eurozone unemployment lowest since September 2011

People looking at job adverts in Greece Image copyright Getty Images

Unemployment in the eurozone dropped in December to its lowest rate in over four years despite worries about the global economy.

Eurostat, the EU's statistical agency, said the jobless rate in the 19 country eurozone had fallen to 10.4% from 10.5% in November.

This means 16.75 million people are jobless, down 49,000 from November.

In the full 28 member European Union the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9% in December.

Among the member states Greece and Spain continue to have the highest jobless total at over 20%.

The Czech Republic and Germany had the lowest rate, both at 4.5%.

Although the German authorities, using a different calculation method, released a domestic unemployment rate of 6.3% for December earlier on Tuesday.

Youth unemployment in the eurozone was 22%, compared with 23% in December 2014.

Muted optimism

The eurozone's total jobless figure is better than analysts expected because of fears surrounding the slowdown in China and volatility in financial markets.

Jennifer McKeown, Capital Economics analyst, welcomed the improvement, but said a slowing global economy could reverse any progress.

"We still think that the European Central Bank has a lot more work to do," she added.

Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, said he expected continued modest growth, with unemployment falling to below 10% by the end of the year if current trends continued.

ECB President Mario Draghi has already indicated another stimulus package could be unveiled as soon as next month.

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