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Eurozone Employment Rises in Q4 for First Time in 3 years

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Eurozone Employment Rises in Q4 for First Time in 3 years

Eurozone employment last quarter rose for the first time in nearly three years, a sign the currency region’s nascent recovery is leading to modest job creation.

Employment in the euro area increased 0.1 percent in the final quarter of 2013, the European Commission reported today. Although euro area employment was still lower year-on-year, the rate of contraction continued to ease. Employment contracted 0.5 percent year-on-year, compared to a 0.8 percent contraction in the third quarter of 2013 and 1.1 percent in the second.

Q4 marked the first time employment rose since the second quarter of 2011.

Among member-states, Lithuania reported the highest quarter-on-quarter employment growth at 1 percent.

Spain, struggling with one of the highest unemployment rates in the region, saw employment rise 0.6 percent in the final three months of 2013. Employment in Portugal rose 0.7 percent, while Greece saw employment levels rise 0.2 percent. Employment levels in Ireland increased 0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter, official data showed.

Employment levels declined 0.5 percent in Italy and in the Netherlands. Latvia recorded the biggest quarterly drop in employment at 1.1 percent.

Improvements in southern Europe suggest recovery is beginning to broaden from the core to the periphery. In Greece, the economy contracted less than forecast in the fourth quarter, a sign the Hellenic nation is starting to turn the page on a devastating six-year recession. The Greek economy, which contracted 3.9 percent in all of 2013, is forecast to grow 0.6 percent this year, according to the European Commission.

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