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Eurozone unemployment at lowest level in almost eight years

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Growth inched up to 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016 in the 19 countries that share the euro

Growth inched up to 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016 in the 19 countries that share the euro

Growth inched up to 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016 in the 19 countries that share the euro

Europe's recovery is gathering speed, with inflation picking up and unemployment at its lowest level in nearly eight years, according to official figures.

The official figures released by Eurostat on Tuesday showed inflation rose sharply, a move that will likely encourage critics who think it is time for the European Central Bank to start withdrawing its stimulus programmes.

Inflation jumped to an annual 1.8% in January, from 1.1% the month before.

Growth inched up to 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016 in the 19 countries that share the euro, from 0.4% the quarter before, while unemployment fell to 9.6% in December.

The figure is the lowest unemployment rate since May 2009 before a financial implosion in Greece kicked off a eurozone-wide debt crisis whose effects are still being felt.

AP

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