Eurozone jobless rate stays at record 12.1%

Eurozone unemployment held at a record in November as policymakers struggled to bolster the recovery from its longest recession. The jobless rate remained at 12.1%, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said.

After several revisions of previous months’ data, unemployment has been stable at that level since April.

While unemployment remains resistant to policy makers’ attempts to boost the economy, positive signs are gradually accumulating. Separate data showed eurozone retail sales and German factory orders rose more than forecast in November, while data today may show economic confidence in the currency bloc improved in December.

There is “very limited momentum in the euro area labour market,” said Timo del Carpio, an economist at RBC Capital Markets in London. “Despite gradually improving macro conditions, the pace of recovery in our view falls short of that necessary to make a measurable dent in unemployment.”

Eurozone retail sales increased 1.4% in November from the previous month, beating analysts’ estimates and rebounding from two months of declines.

The European Central Bank estimates the eurozone economy will expand 1.1% this year after contracting 0.4% percent in 2013. Unemployment will average 12.1% this year and 11.8% in 2015, economists forecast in a separate Bloomberg survey.

- Bloomberg

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