Unemployment rates in October in the 17-nation euro zone declined marginally, marking its first fall since February 2011, and the rate held steady in the 28-member European Union, or EU, on a monthly basis, while both rates rose in comparison with the corresponding period last year, data released by Eurostat on Friday showed.

The euro zone registered an unemployment rate of 12.1 percent in October, down from 12.2 percent in September, but up from 11.7 percent recorded in the same period last year. Analysts had expected unemployment to remain stable at September levels. The unemployment rate for the EU was 10.9 percent, stable compared to a downward revised figure in September, but up from the 10.7 percent rate in October 2012.

About 26.65 million people were unemployed in the EU in October, of whom 19.3 million were in the euro zone. Compared to September, the number of people unemployed decreased by 75,000 in the EU and by 61,000 in the euro zone.  

The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.8 percent) and Germany (5.2 percent), and the highest unemployment rates were seen in Greece (27.3 percent in August 2013) and Spain (26.7 percent).

A flash estimate released by Eurostat showed annual euro zone inflation in November rose to 0.9 percent, up from 0.7 percent in October, remaining significantly below the European Central Bank, or ECB’s inflation ceiling of 2 percent, for the tenth consecutive month. The estimate was slightly better than expectations of 0.8 percent annual inflation.

Core inflation on a yearly basis for the euro zone was 1 percent in November, higher than 0.8 percent recorded in October, and analysts’ expectations for a reading of 0.9 percent.

In Italy, the unemployment rate held steady at 12.5 percent in October, in line with expectations. Italy’s consumer price index showed a monthly decline of 0.4 percent in November, compared to a fall of 0.2 percent in September, and missing expectations of a 0.2 percent rise in prices. On a yearly basis, consumer prices rose 0.6 percent in November, less than a 0.8 percent rise in October, and missing expectations that the CPI would remain unchanged.