German unemployment edges up

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Germany's labour market continued to lose momentum in June with data published Thursday showing the numbers out of work climbing for the third consecutive month, as Europe's debt crisis catches up with the nation.

The Nuremberg-based labour office said seasonally-adjusted unemployment in Europe's biggest economy had increased by a more-than-forecast 7,000 this month to 2.882 million. This left the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.8 per cent.

Still, the jobless rate is at its lowest point in two decades with the recent strength of the German labour market standing in marked contrast to other parts of Europe, where budget austerity has pushed unemployment to record highs.

Analysts had expected the German jobless data to show a more modest rise in unemployment of 3,000 during June.

“There are signs in June of a weaker development on the German labour market,” said labour office chief Frank-Juergen Weise releasing the data.

On Wednesday, the labour office said its BA-X index of labour demand dropped six points in June to 165. This represented its biggest fall since January 2009, when Germany was mired in recession.

But Weise does not believe that the June figures point to a dramatic change in conditions on the labour market.

“We have many established facts, such as the good situation in the construction industry and in the domestic economy, which make it clear that nothing will change this year,” he said.

Indeed, many economists expect hiring to pick up again in the nation as the year unfolds.

“We assume that the improvement in the labour market has only suffered an interruption,” said Commerzbank economist Eckart Tuchfeld.

In the politically important seasonally unadjusted terms, the numbers out of work fell by 46,000 to 2.809 million - its lowest level since December last year.

The fall resulted in the unadjusted jobless rate slipping to 6.6 per cent from 6.7 per cent in May.

However, analysts said this month's increase in unadjusted unemployment was relatively weak compared with previous figures for June, when the job queues normally decline due to the availability of seasonal outdoor work during summer. - Sapa-dpa


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