Headline eurozone unemployment remained stable in August after the 17-nation single currency area exited its longest ever recession, but there remains significant disparity between the labour markets of each individual state.

Eurostat, the European Union's official statistics agency, said the eurozone unemployment rate held at 12.1% during August, the same as in July. The total number of people out of work fell slightly, by 15,000 to 19.23 million.

However, the austerity-stricken states of Spain and Greece continue to suffer the highest unemployment rates across the whole area, at 26.3% and 27.6% respectively. Greek data is collected later than the rest of the eurozone, so the rate reflects May's figures rather than August's.

Both states are wading through billions of pounds of public spending cuts, with Greece still reliant on rescue funds from the EU, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund. The economy has shrunk by a quarter since the financial collapse.

Member states with the lowest unemployment rates were Austria, at 4.3%, powerhouse Germany, at 5.3%, and minnow tax-haven Luxembourg, at 5.7%.

Despite Germany's upbeat economic data, the country's Federal Labour Agency reported that the number of people out of work in Germany increased by 7,000 in August, on a seasonally adjusted basis, to 2.95 million.

A holiday hiring lull pushed up unemployment levels for the first time in three months.

It is a slight hiccup in an otherwise positive raft of data from the German economy, the eurozone's largest, which have bolstered incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of elections in September.

Eurostat also published flash eurozone inflation figures for August. Inflation fell to 1.3% in August from July's 1.6%, said the statistics agency, well under the ECB target of 2%.