German unemployment stable at 6.4% in July: official data
The unemployment rate in Germany held steady at 6.4 percent in July, unchanged from June, in a new sign that the worst of the economic storm unleashed by the coronavirus may be over.
The jobless rate had begun flatlining in June, which was just 0.1 percentage point up on May, seasonally-adjusted figures from the BA federal labour agency showed.
Before the pandemic struck Europe’s top economy, the ranks of the unemployed had hovered at around 5.0 percent, record lows since reunification.
“The job market remains under pressure because of the coronavirus pandemic, even if the German economy is now on a recovery path,” noted Daniel Terzenbach, who heads the BA’s regions department.
The impact of the crisis on the job market has been cushioned by Germany’s shorter hours scheme, in which the government tops up workers’ wages when their shifts are slashed.
After an initial surge to 10.6 million in March and April combined, the numbers of new applications for the scheme have come down significantly.
Between July 1 and 26, applications were received for 190,000 workers.
Latest data showed that payments for shorter hours were paid to 6.7 million workers in May, up from 6.1 million in April and 2.46 million in March.
Underlining the scale of the crisis sparked by the closure of borders, shops and schools to halt transmission of the virus, the BA said the demand for the scheme was “far above the time of the major recession in 2008 and 2009.”