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Business

German April unemployment falls to 24-year low

In April, German unemployment hit its lowest level for the month since 1991 as accelerating economic activity boosted hiring in Europe's largest economy. The domestic labor market will remain strong, officials say.

According to latest German unemployment data released on Thursday, the number of people officially registered as jobless fell for the seventh consecutive month in April reaching 2.843 million, down by 88,660 compared with March.

The unemployment rate, measuring the jobless total against the working population as a whole, fell to 6.5 percent in April from 6.8 percent in the previous month - the lowest April level since German reunification in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In seasonally-adjusted terms, joblessness in Europe's largest economy fell by 8,000 to 2.792 million people, the Federal Labor Office (BA) said. That was slightly fewer than expected by analysts, who had predicted a decline by about 10,000, as they were expecting the normal spring pick-up in hiring to create more jobs in sectors such as construction.

BA said the current strength of the German labor market was the result of the economic recovery, which was "magnifying" the effect of the seasonal uptick.

"Early indicators point to a continuation of the positive development in 2015," BA said, adding: "The labor market is developing positively, both on the supply and demand side."

German gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, fuelled primarily by consumer spending and exports. Just last week, the government upgraded its growth forecast for the whole year 2015 to 1.8 percent, from 1.5 percent in an earlier estimate.

uhe/sri (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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