Official data show that some 4 million jobs disappeared in the European Union last year, when countries were struggling to emerge from recession. The EU statistical agency Eurostat said on Monday that EU employment numbers dropped 1.8 per cent from 2008 and that 221.1 million people were working in the region in the last three months of the year. In the 16 nations that use the euro, some 2.72 million jobs vanished as employment fell 1.8 per cent from the previous year.

Some 144 million were employed in the fourth quarter. Eurostat says the highest number of job losses were in the manufacturng industry, construction and trade, transport and communication services. Agriculture and public administration, health and education added jobs.

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