Deflation in the eurozone eased in March as the unemployment rate dipped slightly in February, figures show.

The EU’s statistics office figures found consumer prices fell by 0.1% in March from a year earlier, as against a 0.3% fall last month.

The downward pressure on prices has come from the drop in energy costs, but which now appear to be levelling out.

The unemployment rate in the eurozone fell from 11.4% to 11.3% in February.

The total decline of 329,000 in the number of eurozone jobless in the three months to February is the largest three-month fall since the three months to April 2007.

The numbers suggest businesses are becoming more willing to step up hiring encouraged by very low oil prices, a markedly weaker euro and a major stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB).