Adjusted tally of German joblessness worsens

29th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 September 2005, NUREMBERG, GERMANY - Unemployment in Germany worsened in September on an adjusted basis, the Federal Labour Office in Nuremberg said Thursday, but it attributed the jump to a change in welfare rules rather than any downturn in the already slack economy.

29 September 2005

NUREMBERG, GERMANY - Unemployment in Germany worsened in September on an adjusted basis, the Federal Labour Office in Nuremberg said Thursday, but it attributed the jump to a change in welfare rules rather than any downturn in the already slack economy.

Economic analysts say Germany's economy has been showing no convincing signs of self-sustained growth, despite strong exports, and Thursday's labour figures, showing 11.2-per-cent unemployment in absolute terms, starkly illustrated that.

Political opponents clashed Thursday in their interpretation of the figures, with the centre-right Christian Democrats, who won a plurality in this month's general election but have yet to form a coalition government, calling the situation "dramatic".

However the caretaker economics minister, Wolfgang Clement, a Social Democrat, hailed what he called a steady decline in joblessness. He said the seasonally adjusted tally had receded by 190,000 since March.

Clement said the figure would have declined by 22,000 in September if it had not been for a change in welfare rules that shifted about 60,000 existing welfare beneficiaries onto the jobless rolls for the first time.

The Labour Office confirmed that this had skewed the figures. The agency head, Frank-Juergen Weise, said there had been a stronger-than-usual decline in first-time registrations for benefit in September, a month when new hirings are common.

Statistical adjustment eliminates this annually recurring effect of more job openings in the spring and autumn months.

In absolute terms, the tally of those registered as jobless this month was 4.65 million. This was 393,000 more than one year ago, but 79,000 fewer than August. That meant 11.2 per cent of the German labour force was out of work. The August rate had been 11.4 per cent.

The Labour Office meanwhile claimed initial success from tighter administration of benefits at the start of this year, saying it had now saved enough money to offer a cut next year in Germany's compulsory unemployment-insurance premiums.

The premiums could be reduced from 6.5 to 6.0 per cent of gross pay, it said.

Both Clement and the Christian Democrats support a rollback in the levies that inflate payrolls in Germany and that are seen by many economists as a brake on the creation of new jobs.

In addition to ordinary income taxes, four levies are also payable for pensions and unemployment, disability and health insurance.

While the Labour Office is being held to a tighter budget, Clement said federal costs for welfare benefits to the long-term unemployed were "exploding": they would surge EUR 3.0 to 3.5 billion this year.

DPA

Subject: German news

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