The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the 17-nation euro area in December 2013 was reported at 12 percent by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on Friday.
While the latest unemployment number is slightly higher than the 11.9 percent seen in December 2012, the data showed unemployment in the region has stabilized since October 2013. A Bloomberg poll had pegged the December 2013 unemployment rate at 12.1 percent.
In the 28-member European Union, or EU, the unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in December 2013, down from the 10.8 percent rate seen in November, and also in December 2012.
According to Eurostat estimates, 26.2 million people in the EU, of which 19.01 million were in the euro area, were without a job in December. But, the month saw 162,000 fewer people in the EU and 129,000 fewer people in the euro area go without a job, compared to the previous month. Compared with December 2012, unemployment had decreased by 173,000 in the EU, but increased by 130,000 in the euro area, according to Eurostat.
The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.9 percent), Germany (5.1 percent) and Luxembourg (6.2 percent), while the highest rates were seen in Greece (27.8 percent in October 2013) and Spain (25.8 percent).
In comparison, the Eurostat statement noted, the unemployment rate in the U.S. in December 2013 stood at 6.7 percent, down from 7 percent in November 2013 and from 7.9 percent in December 2012.
Meanwhile, annual inflation in the euro area in January fell to 0.7 percent from 0.8 percent in the previous month, a flash estimate from Eurostat showed Friday. It was at 2 percent in January 2013.