(CN) - Touting its investments particularly in youth since the Great Recession, the European Commission said Tuesday that the EU's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since 2009.
According to the commission's quarterly review of the European Union's employment and social development, the EU added 3.2 million jobs between August 2015 and August 2016 - 2.2 million of them in the eurozone encompassing the 19 member states that use the euro as currency.
The unemployment rate sits at 8.6 percent, the lowest rate since March 2009.
Twenty-four of 28 member states saw their jobless rates decline in the last year, with improvements in long-term unemployment and youth unemployment in particular. The commission also noted that Europeans are working later in life: nearly 75 percent of people aged 55 to 64 are still in the work force.
"There are 1.6 million fewer people unemployed in the EU than this time last year, 381,000 of them young people," labor commissioner Marianne Thyssen said in a statement. "However, we are not there yet. 4.2 million young people are still looking for a job and can't be left behind. We will continue to invest in human capital and to support the up-skilling of people to make them fit for the labor market, which more than ever demands a skilled labor force."
The worldwide fiscal crisis that began in 2007 hit the EU job market particularly hard. The unemployment rate crested at over 12 percent in the eurozone and 11 percent in the full EU in 2013.
While much of the union has gradually recovered, seven member states recorded jobless rates in August that were above the eurozone average of 10.1 percent. Greece - still plagued by economic woes despite several bailouts - has an unemployment rate of over 23 percent, while nearly 20 percent of Spain's population is jobless.
The Czech Republic and Germany have Europe's best unemployment figures, at 3.9 and 4.2 percent respectively.
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