European flags blow in front of the European Central Bank as the sun rises in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, May 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Eurozone jobless rate lowest in over a decade

June 04, 2019 - 4:04 am

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The unemployment rate has fallen fell to its lowest in more than a decade in the 19 countries that use the euro, as domestic demand keeps growth chugging despite ill winds from slowing global trade.

The European Union statistics agency said Tuesday that unemployment fell to 7.6% in April from 7.7% in March as 64,000 fewer people were unemployed. The figure was the lowest since August 2008. Compared with a year ago, more than a million fewer people were unemployed.

The inflation data underlined the mixed signals facing the European Central Bank as it heads into a policy meeting Thursday in Vilnius, Lithuania. Growth is continuing but inflation remains stubbornly low despite a 2.6 trillion-euro ($2.9 trillion) bond purchase stimulus program that ended last year.

While the unemployment rate reflects the positive effects of earlier quarters of growth, current indicators are sending mixed signals about prospects for the rest of the year. That has led some analysts to think the ECB, which sets monetary authority for the eurozone, may say in the coming months that it will hold off even longer from considering a first interest rate increase from current record low levels. The bank has said it won't raise rates before the end of this year.

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