Croatia recorded the largest annual decrease in the unemployment rate in August 2016 among all European Union countries, but its rate still remains among the highest in the bloc, according to figures published on Friday by Eurostat, the EU statistical office.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Croatia slid to 12.9% in August 2016 from 13.0% in July 2016 and from 16.6% in August 2015. The second largest annual decrease was recorded in Cyprus, by 2.6 percentage points to 12.1%.

Despite the decreases, Croatia remained among the three EU countries with the highest unemployment rates. The group is led by Greece with a rate of 23.4%, followed by Spain with 19.5%.

The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Czech Republic (3.9%) and Germany (4.2%).

This August 237,000 Croatians were out of work, 3,000 fewer than in July. Compared with August 2015, their number decreased by 79,000.

In the 28-member EU, the unemployment rate in August remained the lowest in slightly over seven years, at 8.6%. Last August it was 9.3%.

In the 19-member euro area, the unemployment rate was 10.1%, the lowest in five years. Last August it was 10.7%.

A total of 20.973 million people in the EU were out of work in August, of whom 16.326 million in the euro area. Compared with July 2016, their number decreased by 40,000 in the EU28, while in the euro area it increased by 8,000. Compared with August 2015, unemployment fell by 1.587 million in the EU28 and by 875,000 in the euro area.

The unemployment rate among young people (under 25) in the EU dropped marginally, from 18.7% in July to 18.6% in August. Last August it was 20.1%.

The euro-area youth unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage point from July to 20.7% in August. Last August it was 22.3%. 

In August 2016, 4.199 million young persons were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 2.927 million were in the euro area. The highest rates were recorded in Greece (47.7% in June 2016), Spain (43.2%) and Italy (38.8%). Data for youth unemployment in Croatia in August was not available.

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