German jobless queue shrinks to post-unification low

31st May 2016, Comments 0 comments

Unemployment in Germany fell to its lowest level since East and West Germany reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as Europe's top economy continues to recover, data showed on Tuesday.

The unemployment rate -- which measures the jobless total against the working population as a whole -- fell to 6.1 percent in May from 6.2 percent in April, the federal labour office said in a statement.

In numerical terms, the number of people registered as unemployed in Germany declined by 11,000, while economists had been pencilling in a slightly smaller drop of around 5,000.

At current levels, unemployment now stands at the lowest level since West and East Germany reunited in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall the previous year.

In raw, or unadjusted, terms, the jobless total decreased, falling by 79,800 to 2.664 million. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0 percent in May from 6.3 percent in April, the office said.

"In the first quarter of 2016, the German economy saw a substantial boost in growth," the labour office said.

German gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.7 percent in the period from January to March, more than double the growth seen in the preceding three months.

"For the rest of the year, the moderate trend is expected to continue," the office said.

Analysts welcomed the renewed decline in joblessness.

"The labour market data for May were positive once again," said BayernLB economist Stefan Kipar.

"Demand for labour remains very high."

The headline jobless figure could edge higher in the coming months as refugees who have arrived in Germany officially register for work, the expert said.

"But with jobs still being created at a high level, the net effect will be zero," he argued.

"The labour market remains robust, jobs will continue to be created and household consumption, one of the main drivers of growth, will remain strong," Kipar concluded.

More than one million asylum seeks arrived in Germany last year, fleeing war and persecution in their home countries such as Syria.

© 2016 AFP

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