German January unemployment falls to historic low: figures

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The monthly number of unemployed Germans has fallen to a new record low, official figures published on Wednesday by the Federal Labor Office show.

Due to seasonal effects, the number of Germans without a job in January rose slightly by 185,000 compared to the previous month, with the unemployment rate increasing by 0.5 percentage points to 5.8 percent. Nevertheless, the total figure of 2.57 million unemployed inhabitants was still the lowest ever-measured in January since the beginning of recordings 25 years ago, marking a reduction of 207,000 compared to the same period last year.

“The Labor market has entered the new year with verve”, a statement by Federal Labor Office director Detlef Scheele consequently read.

The Federal Labor Office noted that while sectors of the economy with significant outdoor activities, such as gardening, construction and agriculture, traditionally reduced their headcount during the Winter, the resulting increase in unemployment had been less marked in January 2018 than in previous years.

Once the figures were seasonally-adjusted, unemployment in January also fell on a monthly basis by 25,000. Despite the positive headline data, some regional inequalities were apparent. Western Germany accounted for the bulk of seasonally-adjusted jobs growth (plus 16,000) while the increase in Eastern Germany was more modest (plus 8,000).

However, a parallel estimate of the German employment rate by the Federal Statistical Office on Wednesday added to the impression that the labor market in the Eurozone’s largest economy is going from strength to strength. According to the Wiesbaden-based government statisticians, the number of employed inhabitants grew by a monthly 67,000 and an annual 641,000 to 44,62 million in total in December.

The Federal Labor Office explained in a complementary analysis that this positive development could be almost entirely attributed to employment subject to social insurance, suggesting that a growing number of Germans was able to find a stable occupation.

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