Euro zone consumer prices grew slower than expected in May, though remained well above the European Central Bank's target, data showed on Tuesday, while unemployment held steady in April for the third month.

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat estimated that inflation in the 17 countries using the euro was 2.7 percent year-on-year in May, down from 2.8 percent in April.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected inflation to stay at 2.8 percent year-on-year.

The ECB wants to limit price growth to below, but close to 2 percent over the medium term.

To stem inflationary pressures in the euro zone from the sharp rise in commodity prices, the ECB raised interest rates in April by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent and many economists expect it will increase borrowing costs again in July.

Eurostat also said the unemployment rate in the euro zone was unchanged at 9.9 percent of the workforce in April for the third month, despite small declines in the number of jobless in Germany, France and Italy.

Eurostat said that 15.529 million people were without jobs in the euro zone in April, 115,000 fewer than in the previous month and 457,000 fewer than a year earlier.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, editing by Rex Merrifield)