Euro zone unemployment steady at 12% in Aug.

Oct 01, 2013, 5:00 AM EDT
Picture taken on April 11, 2012 shows a man looking at ads for job vacancies at the employment centre 'Agentur fuer Arbeit' on April 11, 2012, in Berlin.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Official figures show that unemployment across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro held steady in August, in another sign that the eurozone economy is stabilizing following its longest-ever recession.

Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, says Tuesday that unemployment was unchanged at 12 percent in August from the previous month. In total, the number of unemployed fell by a modest 5,000 to 19.18 million.

The improvement in the eurozone labor market has come in the wake of the region's emergence from recession. In the second quarter, it posted quarterly economic growth following six straight contractions.

The overall figures mask huge divergences: While Germany has an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, Greece and Spain have over a quarter of their potential workforce out of work.