German official unemployment falls to 7.7 pct in 2010
German unemployment dropped last year to 7.7 percent of the workforce from 8.2 percent in 2009 owing to strong recovery in Germany which has the biggest economy in Europe, official figures showed on Tuesday.
Improvement was seen across the country and in all age brackets, the labour office said, as Germany pulled out of its worst post-war recession and activity expanded by what might be the fastest rate since reunification in 1990.
The number of people out of work climbed in December however on an unadjusted basis, the benchmark for public debate, by 85,000 to 3.016 million as cold temperatures crimped construction activity, the data showed.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the standard used by economists for comparisons, it was the first monthly increase since June 2009.
The seasonally-corrected unemployment rate in December nonetheless remained at 7.5 percent, in line with an average analyst forecast established by Dow Jones Newswires.
That is its lowest rate since 1992.
Economy Minister Rainer Bruderle forecast "further improvement in the labour market this year," and said in a statement that full employment was within reach.
Germany has benefited from increased global trade and domestic demand has also picked up as companies went ahead with investment plans and the number of unemployed fell steadily last year.
The central bank has forecast economic growth of 3.6 percent for 2010, a post-reunification record, followed by further expansion of 2.0 percent this year.
ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski noted that on average, almost 40.4 million people had a job in Germany last year, the highest level ever, and said the rise in unemployment last month would not halt the improving trend.
"The winter weather could delay a further improvement but will not stop it," Brzeski said.
"Recruitment plans are still improving and vacancies are at the highest level since 2007," he noted.
© 2011 AFP