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Eurozone unemployment drops below 10 percent

Eurozone unemployment drops below 10 percentUnemployment in the eurozone has fallen below the symbolic mark of 10 percent for the first time since April 2011, EU data showed on Thursday, AFP.

The data showed that unemployment in the 19-nation eurozone fell below the 10-percent mark in September, after the Eurostat statistics agency revised their figure for that month to 9.9 percent.

In October the jobless rate fell further to 9.8 percent, the lowest level in seven years and much lower than the forecast 10 percent by analysts at Bloomberg.

Countries facing key elections performed well, with unemployment in Italy falling to 11.6 percent just days ahead of a referendum that could decide the fate of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

A second consecutive fall in France left the rate at 9.7 percent, a significant development ahead of presidential elections next year that could see the rise of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

More jobs "are key if eurozone consumers are to make a solid contribution to growth over the coming months," said analyst Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.

"A concern going forward is that heightened political uncertainty could weigh down on business confidence and lead to (more) caution over employment and investment," he said.

During the worst of the debt crisis, unemployment in the single currency bloc peaked at 12.1 percent.

The 7.5-percent jobless rate was recorded before the 2007-08 financial crash.
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