Eurozone continues to recover as unemployment across the 17 member states holds steady

Unemployment in the eurozone held steady in August, although some countries continue to fare better than others on this front.

Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, revealed that unemployment remained unchanged at 12% during the month.

Overall, the number of unemployed people fell by a modest 5,000 to 19.18 million across the 17-member bloc.

It is another sign that the region's economy is stabilising following its longest-ever recession, but not every country in the eurozone is enjoying a resurgence.

For instance, while Germany has an unemployment rate of 5.2%, Greece and Spain have over a quarter of their potential workforce out of work.

"The eurozone's jobless rate is past its peak for the current economic cycle," said Zach Witton, economist at Moody's Analytics.

"However, the unemployment rate will fall only gradually as the weak recovery provides limited support to profit margins, giving companies little incentive to boost hiring."

The improvement in the eurozone labour market has come in the wake of the region's emergence from a recession, although it has lagged behind by a few months - as is usually the case during a recovery.

In the second quarter of this year, the economy posted modest quarterly economic growth of 0.3% following six straight contractions.

Most surveys suggest the eurozone expanded further during the summer months.

Even Greece, mired in recession for the best part of six years as the global financial crisis morphed into a crippling sovereign debt crisis, is expected to start growing again soon.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, described the overall figures as "good news" for the eurozone and the global economy.

"The downturn in demand caused by the region's recession and the uncertainty generated by its debt crisis had cast a shadow over economic recoveries across the globe," he added. "But we must not get too carried away."

Copyright Press Association 2013