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German unemployment declines in June

German unemployment declines in June

Germany's jobless rate edged down to 8.1 percent in June, official figures showed Thursday, posting a weak seasonal improvement as programs to put workers on shorter hours helped stabilize employment amid a serious recession.
The Federal Labor Agency said the unadjusted jobless rate was down from 8.2 percent in May, with the total number of people registered as unemployed dropping by 48,000 to 3.41 million.
However, Germany had a quarter of a million more people unemployed than in June 2008.
The labor agency said German companies' use of shorter working hours to protect jobs during the downturn had kept unemployment numbers from rising even more.
"Despite the massive downturn in production, the current changes are still comparatively moderate; in particular, the strong participation in short-time programs stabilized the job market," the agency said in a statement.
However, the labor market typically lags behind the economy, and the agency said it was expecting more pressure on jobs as the crisis continues to cut into demand for products from Germany, the world's top exporter.
The German economy _ Europe's biggest _ is expected to shrink by 6 percent or more this year and post at best minimal growth in 2010.
In seasonally adjusted terms, the unemployment rate edged up to 8.3 percent in June from 8.2 percent in May and the number of people out of work increased by 31,000 _ up from an increase of 7,000 the previous month.
That "contrasts with a much more rapid pace of monthly increases of 54,000 during December-April," Timo Klein, an analyst at IHS Global Insight, said in a research note.
However, he said he "expects seasonally adjusted unemployment to rise throughout 2009 and 2010, with monthly increments most likely to pick up during the second half of 2009."
German companies that are using or have used short-time working arrangements to preserve jobs include chemical maker BASF SE, steel producer ThyssenKrupp AG and car makers Daimler AG and BMW AG.
The labor agency said the number of companies registering workers for shorter hours declined in June, with an estimated 12,000 firms registering up to 220,000 workers. In May, 14,000 companies signed up some 290,000 for the arrangement.
The agency said that since October 2008 about 110,000 German companies have announced plans for more than 3 million people to work shorter hours.
However, it noted that such plans are not necessarily implemented, and estimated that between 1.3 million to 1.4 million people are currently working an average of about two-thirds their normal hours.
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On the Net:
http://www.arbeitsamt.de


Updated : 2020-12-02 11:08 GMT+08:00