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Germany is laughing all the way to the jobs office

The country’s unemployment figures for March were the best since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Image: AP Photo/Gero Breloer

GERMAN UNEMPLOYMENT FELL in March to the lowest level since the country reunited in 1990 as growth in Europe’s biggest economy continues to pick up.

The number of people registered as unemployed in Germany fell by a seasonally-adjusted 15,000 to 2.798 million in February, the Federal Labour Office said today.

The unemployment rate slipped to 6.4% in March from 6.5% in February, also the lowest level since west and east Germany reunited in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall the previous year.

In raw or unadjusted terms, the jobless total decreased by 85,500 to 2.932 million and the jobless rate eased to 6.8% in March from 6.9% in February, the labour office said.

Normally, unemployment declines in the spring as the warmer weather allows companies in sectors such as construction to take on workers.

But the current strength of the economic recovery in Germany was magnifying that effect, the labour office said.

“The labour market developed positively both on the supply and demand side,” it said.

The employment trend remains pointing firmly upwards. And usual spring upturn that begins in March was stronger than usual.”

Fall of Berlin Wall The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 Source: AP Photo

Economy ‘favourable’

German gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.7% in the fourth quarter of last year, fuelled primarily by consumer spending and exports, but also by construction investment.

Early indicators point to an overall favourable development in 2015,” the labour office said.

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Meanwhile, the latest Eurostat figures showed the unemployment rate across the eurozone stood at 11.3% in February – down slightly on the previous month. In Ireland the seasonally-adjusted rate was 9.9%.

The agency put the German unemployment rate at 4.8% – the lowest in the EU – based on the trend figures it used, rather than the “more volatile” seasonal rates.

- Additional reporting Peter Bodkin

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