German unemployment to fall below 3 million: minister
The number of unemployed people in Germany should soon drop below three million, Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said on Thursday, as Europe's top economy leaves behind a bitter recession.
"We could soon fall below the three-million level," a key psychological marker, Bruederle said in a speech in parliament.
The latest German unemployment figures showed on Wednesday that there were 3.15 million people unemployed in June, or an unadjusted 7.5 percent of the workforce.
Last year, that rate reached as high as 8.2 percent but the number of jobless did not attain four million as economists and the government itself had feared, in part owing to state-subsidised shortened working hours.
The unemployment rate has now fallen steadily since the beginning of this year.
"We are in the midst of a jobs miracle," Bruederle said.
Owing to strong economic indicators, notably robust export data, the minister said "Germany was back" on its economic track and served again as a "locomotive for the entire European Union."
In 2009, Germany suffered its worst recession since World War II, with gross domestic product contracting by 4.9 percent.
The government officially expects activity to expand by 1.4 percent this year, but research institutes and banks are more optimistic and have pencilled in growth of around 2.0 percent.
© 2010 AFP