German unemployment falls to 10.2 percent
By Andrew McCathie, dpa30 November 2006By Andrew McCathie, dpa
30 November 2006
Berlin (dpa) - German unemployment fell more than expected in November, Federal Labour Office data released Thursday showed, with the jobless rate edging down to 10.2 per cent amid signs of skilled job shortages emerging in Europe's biggest economy.
While the numbers out of work in seasonally adjusted terms dropped by 86,000 to 4.245 million in November, job vacancies surged by 44.4 per cent over the last 12 months on the back of this year's solid economic pickup. Last month unemployment stood at 10.4 per cent.
"Stable economic conditions and mild weather have resulted in the autumn upswing (in the labour market) in November continuing," said Federal Labour Office chief Frank-Juergen Weise releasing the data.
In particular, the unusually warm weather in Germany in recent weeks has helped to underpin jobs in outdoor work such as in parts of the service sector, but notably in the building sector.
The November fall was more than double what analysts had predicted, with economists having forecast a decline of about 30,000 in seasonally adjusted terms.
"The positive trend on the labour market is partly the result of the dynamic economic development and should continue into next year," said Matthias Rubisch, economist with Germany's Commerzbank AG.
But despite the downward trend in German unemployment, the numbers out of work in the nation are still considerably higher than in Japan and the US.
Comparative data released earlier this week by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed German unemployment averaging 8 per cent this year. This compares to 4.6 per cent in the US, 4.2 per cent in Japan and a 6 per cent average in OECD member states.
That said, however, the growing international competitiveness of German industry and the country's booming export sector have resulted in wide sections of business complaining about an increasing shortage of skilled workers.
According to the Federal Labour Office data released Thursday, the total number of job vacancies in the country came in at 806,000 in November.
Analysts say the labour shortages are likely to be accentuated in the coming years by the country's ageing and shrinking population as well as a migration of people out of the country.
The November decline in seasonally adjusted unemployment, which analysts consider to be a key indicator of labour market trends, follows a bigger-than-forecast 73,000 decline in October.
Unemployment fell by a monthly average of 46,000 during June and September, the labour office said, with Germany having introduced a series of reforms in recent years aimed at pressuring those out of work to find jobs.
Based on the politically-sensitive unadjusted rate, unemployment dropped to below the key 4.0 million mark for the first since October 2002.
At 3.995 million, Germany's headline unemployment in November was 89,000 below October levels and 536,000 fewer than in November 2005.
The fall in the seasonally unadjusted numbers out of work resulted in the jobless rate slipping to 9.6 per cent in November, from 9.8 per cent in October. In November 2005, the rate was 10.9 per cent.
While the unemployment rate stood at 8 per cent in the western part of the country this month, in the more economically hard-pressed eastern half the jobless rate stood at 15.5 per cent.
Subject: German news