Tuesday, April 01, 2008

German Unemployment March 2008

German unemployment fell for yet another month in March, reaching its lowest level since August 1992 as worldwide demand for cars, sports shoes and factory machinery prompted companies to add staff to fuel the export machine. The German jobless rate, adjusted for seasonal changes, declined to 7.8 percent from 8 percent in February, the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg said today.

The adjusted number of people without work fell by 55,000 to 3.29 million, the labor agency said. In western Germany, the number of people out of work declined by a seasonally adjusted 36,000 to 2.15 million in March, while the number in eastern Germany dropped by 19,000 to 1.14 million. According to the latest comparable data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany's jobless rate was 7.6 percent in January, compared with 7.8 percent in France, 3.8 percent in Japan and 4.9 percent in the U.S. The OECD average that month was 5.5 percent.

Today's report adds to a number of other signs which we have been noting on this blog that the German economy is currently resisting the slowdown in global growth, a record oil price and the euro rising to a high against the dollar. One very large part of the explanation may well be the rapid rate of expansion which still continues in many East European economies and Russia, which are very very important to German export performance.

Consumer confidence climbed for the first time in three months in April, business confidence unexpectedly rose for a third month in March and export growth accelerated more than expected in January, figures published last month showed.

German unemployment has now fallen for 26 months in a row. German plant and machinery orders rose 10 percent in February from a year earlier, driven by domestic sales, which jumped 12 percent, the VDMA machine makers association said in a statement today. Foreign sales gained 9 percent.

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