Berlin bracing for higher jobless numbers

14th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 February 2005 , BERLIN - Berlin is bracing for another big rise in unemployment in February as the government's tough labour and social welfare reforms boost the numbers out of work. A spokesman for the Ministry for Labour and Economics confirmed on Monday that the February jobless numbers were expected to rise again after the jump in January.

14 February 2005 

BERLIN - Berlin is bracing for another big rise in unemployment in February as the government's tough labour and social welfare reforms boost the numbers out of work.

A spokesman for the Ministry for Labour and Economics confirmed on Monday that the February jobless numbers were expected to rise again after the jump in January.

But he dismissed as "pure speculation" a report in the Sunday paper Welt am Sonntag that the unemployment rolls could reach 5.5 million.

In January, Germany's jobless numbers surged by 573,000 to reach 5.04 million for a rate of 12.1 percent under government labour market reforms that took effect 1 January which changed the way unemployment is calculated.

Under the so-called "Hartz IV" reform package, people receiving welfare benefits were required to register with the labour office to seek employment in order to continue receiving welfare support.

Welt am Sonntag said that the steep rise in jobless figures was a result of how the social welfare offices were reporting names to the Federal Labour Agency's job offices.

Under the Hartz-IV package, the social welfare offices were to report only the names of work-eligible welfare recipients to the labour offices.

But in fact, the paper said, the social welfare offices were reporting virtually all recipients, including those who were unfit for work, thereby making the unemployment lists even bigger.

The ministry spokesman confirmed that some fine-tuning of the new system and the procedures for reporting was now underway.

"A re-examination of employment activity and availability is fully underway in many agencies," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news 

0 Comments To This Article