Unemployment in Germany falls again despite slowing growth
28 Febraury 2008
BERLIN, Germany – German unemployment fell more than expected in February, data released Thursday showed, adding to hopes that Europe’s biggest economy will be able to withstand the slowdown in world economic growth.
After falling by 89,000 in January, the federal labour agency said the numbers out of work in seasonally adjusted terms dropped by 75,000 to 3.336 million. Analysts had predicted a fall of 53,000 this month.
In the more political sensitive unadjusted terms, the numbers out of work fell by 50,000 to 3.617 million with the jobless rate edging down 0.1% to 8.6%.
This represented a fall of 630,000 compared with the same period last year, when the unemployment rate stood at 10.2%.
"The demand by companies for labour is on a very high level," said labour agency chief Frank Juergen Weise releasing the data, with the mild winter weather helping with the improvement in the labour market in recent months.
The latest fall in unemployment came despite a raft of economic data pointing to the German economy losing momentum as it entered the new year and signs that the country’s corporate sector is moving to trim its workforce again as part of a new round of cost-cutting.
On Wednesday, luxury German carmaker BMW AG confirmed that it was axing 8,100 jobs from its more than 100,000-strong workforce.
At the same time, detergent and glue maker Henkel KGaA said it was planning to cut 3,000 jobs or about 7% of its workforce in the face of increasing raw material costs.
Earlier in the week, giant German electronics group Siemens AG confirmed that it will slash up to 6,800 jobs worldwide as a result of the planned sale of its SEN telecoms business.
About 2,000 jobs are expected to be axed in Germany and 2,000 in other countries as well as 3,000 as a result of outsourcing or partnership arrangements, Siemens said.
Meanwhile, economists continue to revise down their growth projections for Germany with the International Monetary Fund saying on Wednesday that it had cut its German economic growth forecast to 1.5%.
It had made a 2% projection in October last year.
The German economy grew by 2.5% last year after expanding by 2.9% in 2006.
[Copyright dpa 2008]