Euro zone unemployment steady at 12.0%

CNBC

Unemployment in the euro zone was unchanged at 12.0 percent in August, European statistics agency Eurostat said on Tuesday after it revised its previous figure for July.

Although the actual amount of people unemployed fell for a third consecutive month in August to 19.178 million people -- the lowest level since April -- this was not enough to lower the 12 percent figure.

The data highlighted the slow economic recovery in the region and the persistent problem of unemployment among under-25s in particular.

In August, the youth unemployment rate was 23.7 percent in the euro zone, slightly down from July's figure of 24 percent but still leaving nearly one-quarter of young people without a job.

Struggling southern European countries remain worse hit, with the latest numbers continuing to show that over half of young people in Spain and Greece are without a job. In contrast, the lowest youth jobless rate is currently in Germany, at 7.7 percent.

(View more: European companies are focused on temporary recruitment: CEO)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a a summit of government leaders in July that youth unemployment was the most pressing challenge facing Europe, This followed a move from the European Union to allocated 6 billion euros ($7.8 billion) to tackling it, via "durable" vocational training and skills-based education

More recently, the head of the International Labor Organization (ILO) warned that Europe faced a "time bomb," as record numbers of young people remained jobless, and said leaders were failing to do enough to tackle the problem.

"If we don't get these young people into work it's a demographic time bomb, so there's a bit of schizophrenia around these issues, and the only way out of that schizophrenia is to find ways to get young people into work," ILO Director General Guy Ryder told CNBC at the G-20 summit in September.

"Youth unemployment is double, triple the overall levels and we need to find those jobs quickly for all sorts of reasons."

(Read more: Youth unemployment 'time bomb' ticking in Europe: ILO)

Recent figures for business confidence and economic sentiment in the euro zone showed a sharp improvement in July, August and September however, raising hopes that the region's recovery was slowly gathering steam.

Most importantly, official data in August showed the euro zone's gross domestic product grew by 0.3 percent in the second quarter from the first, ending the longest recession in mainland Europe in over 40 years.

(Read more: Whose Job Is It to Tackle Youth Unemployment? )

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