Job data raises hopes
4 December 2003 , NUREMBERG - Germany's labour market showed slight improvement in November, with seasonally-adjusted jobless figures declining for the third straight month in a further sign that Europe's third largest economy is slowly waking up again. The Federal Labour Office in Nuremberg reported that after seasonal adjustments, unemployment fell by 18,000 in the month, coming after drops of 14,000 in September and 12,000 in October. The drop resulted from a decline of 10,000 in western Germany and of
4 December 2003
NUREMBERG - Germany's labour market showed slight improvement in November, with seasonally-adjusted jobless figures declining for the third straight month in a further sign that Europe's third largest economy is slowly waking up again.
The Federal Labour Office in Nuremberg reported that after seasonal adjustments, unemployment fell by 18,000 in the month, coming after drops of 14,000 in September and 12,000 in October.
The drop resulted from a decline of 10,000 in western Germany and of 8,000 in the former communist eastern part of the country.
Analysts said the data pointed to the stepped-up efforts by the labour office to get people back to work at least in part-time employment, making the jobless figures look better. The office is also pushing Berlin's new "Ich AG" (Me Inc.) programme of getting unemployed people to become self-employed.
Unadjusted joblessness rose by 32,700 to 4,184,500, leaving the unemployment rate at 10.0 percent, the same as in October. The figure was 158,700 higher than in November 2002. In October, joblessness was 222,000 higher than a year earlier.
In keying in on the more closely-watched adjusted data, office president Florian Gerster noted that since April, seasonally-adjusted unemployment had fallen by 75,000.
He said this was the chiefly the result of the new labour market policies being implemented in the country.
"The impulses now coming from economic developments have not yet reached the labour market," Gerster cautioned.
In Berlin, Economics Minister Wolfgang Clement noted that the rise in the unadjusted figure was lower than usual, with unemployment growing on average by some 53,000 in the month of November in the years 1999 through 2002.
"The usual winter months rise in unemployment in November was clearly lower than in the previous years," Clement said. "This is above all the result of our new labour market policy. Its effect is gaining more and more momentum."
But Clement conceded that the German economy, despite some encouraging signs of recovery, is still too week to provide much boost to the job market and create new jobs.
"Therefore it is of the greatest importance that we provide a powerful boost by moving ahead the third stage of the tax reform," he said.
In remarks directed at the conservative opposition, with which the Social Democrat-Greens government is now in mediation to gain final legislative approval of Berlin's tax cut plans, Clement added: "Anyone who in this situation prevents a powerful tax cut will be held greatly responsible."
However, the head of the conservative opposition Christian Democratic Union, Laurenz Meyer, put negative spin on the latest job figures and demanded that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder should "think about our country, not his party" in the mediation.
"The game of playing with statistics can only barely cover up that under Schroeder, there is stagnation," Meyer said.
Coinciding with the latest joblessness data from Nuremberg, the Federal Labour Office in Wiesbaden reported that the size of job losses in the economy dropped further in September.
The office said that employment in the country averaged 38.4 million. This was 454,000 or 1.2 percent lower than in September 2002, but that in itself was a comparative improvement from the 473,000 lower job-holding figure in August and 493,000 in July.
The Wiesbaden office report cited the rise in self-employment under the "Ich-AG" programme along with a slight expansion of marginal part-time work had contributed to the more favourable September job- holding figures.
In further data pointing to a recovery starting to set in for Germany's economy, the Economics Ministry reported Thursday that industrial orders rose 2.0 percent in October, with the rise fuelled by an upturn in domestic demand.
In issuing the year-on-year data for October, the ministry also drastically revised upwards its September orders growth figure, to 1.9 percent. The ministry had initially given a 0.9 percent rise.
Of equal encouragement, the ministry said the orders growth was now primarily resulting from domestic orders, long a segment which at best had been stagnant.
Subject: German news