The number of jobless workers in the 17 European nations that use the euro currency has fallen slightly for a second straight month, but the unemployment rate still is at 12.1 percent — a record high for the eurozone bloc.
The European labor report Friday showed the number of unemployed dropped by 50,000 during June and July, but that leaves more than 19 million workers without jobs throughout the eurozone.
Analysts say this is a sign that the eurozone economy, collectively the biggest in the world, is beginning to show signs of advancing after a year and a half of recession. Earlier this month, the eurozone reported economy growth edged ahead by three-tenths of one percent in the April-to-June period.
Economist Carsten Brzeski of ING bank said the question remains whether growth in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, is enough to help weaker European economies still mired in recession.
"Up to now it's mainly a German story, so we've had strong German growth, technically pushing the eurozone out of recession," he said. "But if you look at the individual European countries, you see that most of them are still stuck in a recession. Now the big question is, if you look into the second half of this year, whether the German engine actually is strong enough to pull the rest out of the recession."
The European Central Bank says it expects modest growth for the remainder of 2013.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.