German unemployment fall further in March

31st March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The German unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent in March as the number of people out of work declined to 3.21 million, the national labour office said on Tuesday.

That unadjusted rate, which is used as the basis for public debate in Europe's biggest economy, stood at a revised 7.9 percent in February.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, the standard used by economists for comparisons, the unemployment rate in March declined to 7.1 percent from 7.3 percent in February.

That marked the lowest level since records were compiled for a reunified Germany in 1992, economists noted, and was better than a market forecast of 7.2 percent.

A total of 3.313 million people were officially registered as looking for work in March according to that measure.

So far however, the steady decline in unemployment has failed to ignite a widely-forecast increase in consumption.

German retail sales declined in February by 0.3 percent, according to provisional, price-adjusted figures released by the national statistics office.

The highly volatile data also showed an annualised gain of 1.1 percent, but the monthly gain of 1.4 percent first reported for January was revised lower to just 0.4 percent.

ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski put the lack of consumption traction down to "a strong increase in low-wage jobs and higher energy prices."

Ben May at Capital Economics noted meanwhile that a survey of eurozone purchasing managers suggested that "the unemployment rate is likely to continue to fall in the coming months."

He concluded that the impressive German economic recovery should remain on track "for a little while yet."

© 2011 AFP

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