German unemployment still at historic low

Friday, September 1st, 2017
Last Update: 09:35
As a general election looms next month, the latest unemployment data from Europe΄s largest economy shows a strong jobs market. At the same time the eurozone is also on track to reach its inflation targets.Unemployment in Germany held at record lows for August, official figures released by the Federal Labor Agency (BfA) showed Thursday. The jobless rate in Europe΄s strongest economy stood at 5.7 percent this month, in seasonally-adjusted figures.

"The labor market continues to develop positively," said labor agency head Detlef Scheele. Adding, "Strong growth in employment continues and companies΄ demand for new workers remains high."

In absolute terms, the number of people unemployed fell by 5,000 to 2.53 million in August in seasonally-adjusted terms.

However, unadjusted figures showed a slight rise in unemployment this month, adding 0.1 percentage point month-on-month. In concrete terms, the unadjusted jobless total increased by 27,000 to reach 2.54 million.

The jobless count typically increases during the summer months as students graduate from school, university or vocational training and start looking for jobs.

The healthy state of the economy is likely to help Chancellor Angela Merkel as she campaigns for a fourth term in the September 24 national election. If reelected, she has pledged to work toward full employment - defined as a rate below 3 percent - by 2025.

The wider unemployment picture

The overall jobless rate in the 19-nation single currency eurozone area is another story, though at 9.1 percent in July it was the lowest level since February 2009, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

Greece continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone and the European Union as a whole at 21.7 percent, followed by Spain with over 17 percent and Italy with over 11 percent.

The lowest unemployment was recorded in the Czech Republic at 2.9 percent. By comparison the unemployment rate in the United States was 4.3 percent in July.

Working on the eurozone

Yet at the same time eurozone inflation rose closer to the European Central Bank΄s 2.0 percent target in August helping to confirm a much discussed economic recovery in Europe.

This new data should reinforce hope that despite uncertainty and the unknowns of Brexit, the eurozone is emerging from the worst of the financial crisis that began in 2008.

Additionally, consumer prices in the single currency area rose 1.5 percent, bolstering speculation that the European Central Bank will roll back its crisis-fighting easy money policies as the euro area recovery picks up some more much-needed speed.

tr/uhe (dpa, AP, AFP)

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