The euro area unemployment rate held steady at the lowest level since late 2008, despite manufacturing activity growth weakening since the turn of the year.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.4 percent in May, the lowest since December 2008, figures from Eurostat showed Monday. The expected rate was 8.5 percent.
The number of people out of work decreased by 125,000 from the previous month to 13.656 million in May.
Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate declined to 16.8 percent in May from 17.1 percent in April.
The overall unemployment rate in EU28 was 7 percent in May, stable compared with April. This was the lowest since August 2008.
May’s unemployment data revealed that the steady recovery in the Eurozone labor market had continued despite signs of a slowdown in the wider economy, Jennifer McKeown, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
But with wage growth remaining subdued, the European Central Bank is unlikely to change its guidance that interest rates will stay on hold for at least another year.
Elsewhere, final data from IHS Markit showed that factory activity in the currency bloc grew at the weakest pace in more than a year in June.
The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to an 18-month low of 54.9 in June from 55.5 in May. This was slightly below the flash estimate of 55.0.
The PMI has signaled a weakening in the pace of expansion in each month since the turn of the year, as manufacturers have experienced a synchronized easing in growth of both production and new order volumes.
Eurozone manufacturing reported its weakest expansion for one-and-a-half years in June, with risks clearly tilted towards output growth waning further in coming months, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said.
Nonetheless, survey indicated an increase in manufacturing employment with staffing levels raised in all participating nations due to rising production and increased backlogs of work.
Weaker factory expansions were seen in Germany, France and Greece, with France dropping to the bottom of the growth league table.
Germany’s headline IHS Markit/BME PMI fell to an 18-month low of 55.9 in June, in line with flash estimate, from 56.9 in May. The index has declined in each of the past six months from a survey-record high last December.
Similarly, France’s PMI came in at 52.5, down from the flash 53.1 and below May’s 54.4. The latest reading was the lowest for 16 months. Moderation in new business growth was the main factor weighing on manufacturing companies.