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Greece leapfrogs Spain to have the highest unemployment rate in eurozone

Official figures show unemployment across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro steady at 11.7 percent in December.

The rate reported by Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, is a record high for the eurozone after November's original 11.8 percent estimate was revised down. Unemployment in the eurozone has been 11.7 percent now for three months.

Greece has the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, leapfrogging Spain. At the end of October, Greece's unemployment rate was 26.8 percent against Spain's 26.1 percent. Greece's statistics are compiled on a different timeframe.

Separately, Eurostat reported that inflation in the eurozone fell to 2 percent in the year to January, down from 2.2 percent the previous month. The decline was unexpected and comes ahead of next Thursday's European Central Bank rate-setting meeting.