Euro zone employment falls at slower pace in second quarter

Reuters
Protesters take part in a May Day demonstration in Gijon
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Protesters take part in a May Day demonstration in Gijon, northern Spain May 1, 2013. Workers hit by lower living standards and record high unemployment staged May Day protests across Europe on Wednesday, hoping to persuade euro zone governments of the case for easing austerity measures and boosting growth. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The number of people in work in the euro zone fell again in the second quarter of this year but at a slower rate, adding to hopes that the bloc's modest recovery may be gaining momentum.

Employment in the 17 nations sharing the euro fell 0.1 percent in the April-to-June period compared to the first quarter, which was significantly less than the two previous quarters, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said on Friday.

The euro zone emerged from a recession in the second quarter, ending its longest downturn since the currency area's creation in 1999, while June saw unemployment fall for the first time in more than two years.

However, the recovery remains weak and reliant on exports, and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi warned this week that it was still "very, very green".

Business surveys point to better morale, but improvements in hard data meanwhile are modest at best, highlighted by this week's unexpected fall in July industrial production in the euro zone.

The euro zone's job rate has not been in positive territory since the start of 2011 and unemployment in Greece has climbed to 28 percent.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by John O'Donnell)

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