Expatica news

German joblessbreakthrough seen

8 January 2003

NUREMBERG – German joblessness rose to 10.4 percent in December, from 10 percent the month before, the Federal Labour Office reported Thursday, with office president Florian Gerster expressing guarded hopes that the worst may about be over in the country’s hard-hit job sector.

In remarks as the office issued the latest jobless data, Gerster said he was “guardedly optimistic” that unemployment figures in 2004 will stagnate at the average of 4.376 million seen last year.

While the first half of 2004 will remain difficult on the German job market, the second half should see a clear reduction in unemployment, he predicted.

“A genuine breakthrough will first take place in 2005,” Gerster said.

He said that the latest figures and developments setting in towards the end of 2003 were an indication that the labour market reforms initiated last year were having a positive effect in the face of the overall weak economy.

But real success in the job market would only set in once the economy got going again, Gerster cautioned.

His comments came after the Nuremberg-based office reported that German unemployment rose in December by 132,000 to an unadjusted level of 4,316,500. This was 91,400 higher than in December 2002, when the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent.

With the December figures, the average unemployment in Germany in 2003 was 4.376 million, up by 315,700 or 8 percent over the 2002 average, the office reported.

But in the more closely-watched data, joblessness after seasonal adjustments fell by 21,000 to 4.337 million, the office said.

That drop resulted from a decline of 11,000 in eastern Germany and 10,000 in the western part of the country.

Seasonally-adjusted joblessness has been steadily dropping since April 2003, with the December decline bringing the total jobless numbers down by around 96,000 since then.

Labour market analysts also note that December’s unadjusted rise of 132,000 was considerably lower than the average of 190,000 reported for the month of December during the previous six years.


Subject: German news