German unemployment edges slightly up

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German unemployment edged slightly up in July to 7.0 percent because of seasonal factors, the Federal Labour Agency said Thursday.

The number of people out of work was up by 46,000 from June to July, but down by 247,000 year-on-year to stand at 2.93 million, the agency said.

Adjusted for seasonal effects, unemployment was down by 11,000 over the month, slightly under the 15,000 figure expected by experts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.

In June, the jobless rate had stood at 6.9 percent.

The Labour Agency attributed the small monthly increase to seasonal factors, including school-leavers registering as unemployed and firms putting back hiring until after the holiday season.

"Unemployment in July grew slightly just because of seasonal factors," Heinrich Alt, a Labour Agency senior official said in a statement.

"Gainful employment ... is continuing to grow and demand for labour is at a record level," he added.

Since late last year, unemployment has reached its lowest levels in 20 years thanks to a strong upswing in Europe's biggest economy.

In certain regions, such as Bavaria in southern Germany, full employment has been achieved.

But much of the rise in employment is due to short-term contracts.

The Destatis office of statistics said last week that 75 percent of labour growth between 2008 and 2010 resulted from part-time or short-term contracts.

© 2011 AFP

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