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The unemployment rate in Estonia fell to 10.9 percent in the third quarter, down sharply from 13.3 percent in the previous quarter. It is the latest indicator of a drastic turn for the better in the economy. That number meant 77,000 Estonians were unemployed and marked a sharp drop in the unemployment rate from 15.5 percent in the third quarter of 2010, according to official data released by Statistics Estonia on Monday.
The data showed that 44,000 of the total unemployed have been looking for a job for a year or more, while about 28,000 of them have been looking for a job for at least two years. Statistics Estonia also saw a decrease in the number of unemployed men since 2010, when men accounted for nearly two-thirds of the unemployed, at a time when unemployment peaked at nearly 20 percent in the country hit hard by the global crisis.
"Since then, male unemployment began to decrease faster than female unemployment, and in the third quarter of this year there were even fewer unemployed men than unemployed women," it said. "The unemployment rate for men was 10.6 percent in the third quarter and that for women was 11.3 percent," she added. The country of 1.3 million people, which joined the European Union in 2004 and the eurozone in January, emerged from an economic contraction of 14.1 percent in 2009 - one of the deepest recessions in the world. The Estonian authorities have forecast growth of 7.0 percent for 2011.