The eurozone dropped to 10.9 percent unemployment rate in July, it's largest drop in three years. File photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
MADRID, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The European Union statistics agency Eurostat reported Tuesday the jobless rate in the eurozone has fallen to its lowest point in three years.
The 19-member currency union saw its jobless rate fall to 10.9 percent, down from 11.1 percent the month before. This is the first time the eurozone unemployment rate has dipped below 11 percent since 2012.
The jobless rate was helped considerably by a sharp fall in unemployment in Italy, which dropped by 143,000. Spain also saw a sizeable drop despite still having the second-highest unemployment rate at 22.2 percent, next to Greece's 25 percent.
Youth unemployment in the eurozone also fell to 21.9 percent in July from 22.3 percent in June.
Meanwhile, over the entire 28-member EU, unemployment fell 9.5 percent, the lowest since June 2011.
Another survey by Eurostat released Thursday suggested growth in the region's manufacturing sector had slowed in August. This was shown by the Markit Eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) decreasing by 0.1 points to 52.3 in July. The PMI has managed to stay above 50 for two years, though, a feat that indicates the sector is growing.
Germany's PMI jumped to 53.3 in August from 51.8 in July, with the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy also seeing strong growth.
The PMI figures coincide with six months of the European Central Bank's (ECB) bond-buying program designed to stimulate the regional economy and combat low inflation, which is currently stagnant at .2 percent.
The ECB seeks a target inflation of just under two percent, meaning its stimulus program may continue beyond its expected completion date in September 2016.