By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) - The European Union's unemployment rate in December 2017 was 7.3 percent, the lowest figure recorded in the EU28 since October 2008, according to an official data released on Wednesday.
Eurostat said the EU28 unemployment rate was stable compared to November 2017 and down from 8.2 percent in December 2016.
Eurostat also said the eurozone (EA19) unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in December 2017, down from 9.7 percent in the same month of 2016 -- the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since January 2009.
Around 18 million people were unemployed in the EU28 -- nearly 14 million in the eurozone -- according to Eurostat estimations.
"Compared with December 2016, unemployment fell by 2.06 million in the EU28 and by 1.53 million in the euro area," the institution said.
Official data also showed that the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.3 percent), Malta (3.6 percent) and Germany (3.6 percent).
The highest figures in December were seen in Greece (20.7 percent in October 2017) and Spain with 16.4 percent.
In the last decade, the highest annual unemployment rate in EU was recorded in 2013 at 10.9 percent, while the lowest level was seven percent in 2008.
- GDP up 2.6 percent in EU
In a preliminary flash estimate released on Tuesday, the EU’s fourth-quarter GDP grew by 0.6 percent compared to the previous quarter.
The EU economy recorded a 2.6 percent growth year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2017, Eurostat said.
Last year, EU28 GDP rose by 2.2 percent in the first quarter, 2.5 percent in the second quarter, while it grew by 2.8 percent in the third quarter.
From 2007 to 2016, the EU economy had its best performance in 2007 with three percent annual growth and 2009 was the worst year shrinking 4.3 percent following the global financial crisis while it grew two percent in 2016.