In December, the euro zone unemployment rate stayed unchanged at an upwardly revised 10.4%, which was in line with expectations. The euro zone unemployment rate is now again at its highest level since June 1998. According to Eurostat estimates, the number of people unemployed rose in December by 20 000 compared with November. In the euro zone, the youth unemployment rate dropped from 21.7% in November to 21.3% in December. The national differences remain striking with record low unemployment rates in Germany, while Greek (19.20%) and Spanish (22.90%) ones continue to surge ever higher. The German Bundesbank released yesterday also January unemployment data. During the first month of the year, unemployment dropped by 34 000 in Germany, more than expected and the biggest drop since March last year. The unemployment rate dropped lower too, falling from 6.8% to 6.7%, a new record low. The strength of the German labour market continues to surprise and it will be interesting to see whether this trend will continue in the coming months, as growth slowed sharply and probably even contracted slightly in the final quarter of 2011.