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German Unemployment Figures Flatten

Figures released by the Federal Labor Office on Thursday show that German unemployment has levelled out after fears that the recent increasing trend would continue. The news boosts hopes that attempts to reform the labour market by Gerhard Schröder’s government might be taking effect. The report shows that 4.41 million people were out of work across Germany in August, unchanged from the figure in the previous month, after numbers were adjusted for seasonal factors such as July's surge in graduates joining the job market and rising farm jobs. The unadjusted numbers show a fall from 4.35 million to 4.31 million, giving an overall jobless rate of 10.4 percent of the working-age population. Economists had expected a rise in the adjusted figure, but even officials are still afraid of more rises to come despite signs the economy may be picking up.