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Jobless rate in eurozone stays at record high

FRANKFURT — The number of people out of work in the eurozone rose slightly in September, according to data published Thursday, showing that signs of renewed economic growth have not yet filtered through to the labor market.

The jobless rate was 12.2 percent last month, a record high and the same as the figure for August, which was revised upward. But the absolute number of jobless people in the 17 countries in the euro area rose by 60,000 from a total of about 19.5 million, said Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.

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Another sign of weak growth came from its inflation report Thursday. It showed a slower than expected increase in the prices consumers and businesses pay for everything from food to energy to industrial goods, and could put pressure on European officials to further stimulate the region’s economy.

The eurozone unemployment rate had stopped rising in recent months, but Eurostat revised the figure reported for August to 12.2 percent from 12 percent.

“Businesses are not yet confident enough about the growth outlook to switch to creating jobs,” Marie Diron, an economist who advises the consulting firm Ernst & Young, said in an e-mail.

The numbers come as a disappointment after recent data fed hopes that the eurozone was slowly emerging from a downturn that effectively began in 2009.

Spain, one of the countries hit hardest by the eurozone debt crisis, returned to growth in the third quarter after a recession that lasted more than two years.

There also have been signs that the European car industry, a major source of jobs, is recovering from its worst sales in two decades. On Wednesday, the Italian carmaker Fiat reported its first increase in European sales since 2010.

But joblessness continued to rise in eurozone countries including France, Italy, and Belgium, offsetting improvement in Germany and Portugal.

Employment is typically one of the last components of the economy to respond in an upturn, because companies tend to wait to hire people until they are sure business is really getting better.

For all 28 countries in the European Union, including those like Romania and Britain that are not in the eurozone, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 11 percent for the fourth month in a row.

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