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Employment levels across Europe continued to fall during the fourth quarter as more companies cut jobs and axed staff, new statistics from Eurostat showed on Thursday. In the quarter, employment fell by -0.4% in the European Union (EU) when compared to a year ago.
In the Euro countries, where unemployment last stood at 11.9% in January, employment dropped by -0.8% year-on-year. Over the entire year in 2012, employment decreased by -0.7% in the Euro area and by -0.4% in the EU.
Eurostat estimates that during the fourth quarter, 222.6 million people were employed in the EU. 145.7 million of them were found in the Euro countries.
The highest increases in employment were noted in Latvia, Luxembourg, Romania, Germany and the Czech Republic when compared to a year ago. Meanwhile the sharpest decreases were seen in Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal.
In the EU, fourth-quarter employment dropped across sectors such as industry, construction and financial services while information/communication, professional and arts/entertainment sectors saw an increase in employment during the quarter.