Employment in the euro area decreased for the third consecutive quarter in the first three months of 2012, as companies reduced their staff strength to cut costs in the face of weak demand and uncertain economic outlook.
On the other hand, the trade surplus surged in April from a month ago. But it does not reflect an improvement in foreign trade, as this was driven by a bigger fall in imports.
Data from Eurostat on Friday showed that the number of persons in employment in the single currency bloc decreased a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent sequentially in the first quarter. This follows a fall of 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, which was revised up from 0.2 percent fall.
The largest reduction in employment was logged in construction, down 1.3 percent sequentially, while information and communication showed the biggest increase of 1 percent. Annually, overall employment decreased 0.5 percent, faster than the 0.2 percent decline seen in the fourth quarter.
In the EU27, employment remained unchanged quarter-on-quarter, after edging down 0.1 percent in the previous quarter.
There were marked divergences between employment developments in the core northern Eurozone economies and the struggling southern ones.
While employment in Germany increased 0.5 percent, it was unchanged in France from the fourth quarter, and down 0.6 percent in Italy. Spain, along with Hungary marked the biggest declines of 1.2 percent.
The seasonally adjusted trade surplus increased in April to EUR 6.2 billion from EUR 3.7 billion in the previous month. The surplus also exceeded the expected level of EUR 4.2 billion.
The month-on-month decline in exports deepened to 1.3 percent from 1 percent. Likewise, imports declined at a faster pace of 3 percent after easing 0.9 percent a month ago.
On an unadjusted basis, the trade surplus fell to EUR 5.2 billion in April from EUR 7.5 billion in March. The extra-EU27 trade in goods deficit totaled EUR 12 billion, compared with a shortfall of EUR 7.3 billion in March.
by RTT Staff Writer
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