Eurozone economic indicators

CNC reporting from Berlin
Added On May 1, 2013

Inflation in the eurozone has fallen to  a three-year low, but unemployment has hit another record high.

That's according to European Union's (EU) statistical bureau Eurostat on Tuesday.

EUROZONE INFLATION FALLS

With the bloc's economy mired in recession, inflation tumbled to 1.2 percent in April.

It's the lowest level since February 2010 and the biggest monthly drop in more than four years.

Expectations were already high that the ECB would cut its main interest rate from its all-time low of 0.75 percent at its monthly policy meeting.

Analysts said Tuesday's figures from Eurostat have increased the likelihood of a reduction in borrowing rates.

The figure also took markets by surprise. They had been expecting a modest decline to 1.6 percent.

Eurostat indicates that falling energy prices were largely behind the fall as well as lower service sector inflation.

EUROZONE JOBLESS HITS FRESH RECORD

As recession continues to sweep the eurozone and wider EU, the unemployment rate in the 17-nation eurozone climbed for the 23rd consecutive month -- hitting 12.1 percent in March.

The data were up from 11 percent registered one year ago.

It is a sign that the eurozone labor market deteriorated due to the ongoing debt crisis, austerity measures and financial market turbulence.

In the 27-nation bloc, the jobless rate stayed at 10.9 percent in March, unchanged from last month. It was 10.3 percent a year ago.

The astonishing new figures come amid increasingly criticism over the effects on jobs of harsh austerity measures pushed by Germany and other austerity advocates.

Although there are signs of a softening on austerity, anger across the Europe is rising as hard economic data fails to show a turn-around.

The latest available figures show that Greece, the eurozone nation hardest hit by unemployment, saw joblessness climb relentlessly to 27.2 percent in January.

While last weekend, the Greek parliament agreed to fire another 14,000 civil servants in return for EU-IMF bailouts.

Portugal, another bailed-out nation facing one of the eurozone's sharpest rises in unemployment, see unemployment rise to 17.5 percent in March.

It was also seeking to agree new austerity measures after its Constitutional Court rejected discriminatory cuts to civil servant salaries and pensions decided in response to demands by EU-IMF lenders.

Cyprus, which saw a huge month-to-month rise in unemployment, its parliament was also to debate the terms of a tough 10-billion-euro bailout.